A sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at California Capitol — again | The Sacramento Bee
A sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at California Capitol — again
by Caitlin McKee
California could have, but didn’t, do the right thing to keep the alleged rapists behind bars, but a sexual misconduct settlement could threaten #MeToo progress at the state Capitol — again.
A federal judge’s decision to drop misconduct claims in the case of seven alleged attackers against Capitol staffers and legislators put an end to the most high-profile case yet of sexual misconduct cases against state government workers and brought the #MeToo movement to California’s Capitol.
The judge’s decision does not resolve the merits of the case but ends the process of litigation, providing a step toward justice for the victims.
The alleged attacks happened in 2013 and 2014. Former aides are accusing state lawmakers of pressuring them to settle sexual harassment claims when they could have kept the perpetrators in jail, and of retaliating against them by firing them from jobs and by cutting them off from state resources to pay for their lawsuit.
The victims include Democratic Sen. Joel Anderson, a former legislative aid to Sen. Connie Leyva.
The judge’s decision comes after an appeals court dismissed the case, saying it was a civil dispute and not a criminal matter.
The lawsuit was led by former legislative aide Sarah Jewell and former legislative aide Jessica Levinson and two employees of the Assembly and Senate budget committees, including former legislative aide Jessica Farias.
The judge said the allegations were sufficient to state claims and there was enough evidence to find the state officials had violated the law by retaliating against the victims.
“As such, the court finds defendant’s motion to dismiss is denied and plaintiffs’ motion for summary disposition is granted,” U.S. District Judge Johnnamed as the judge, who is hearing the case, wrote Tuesday in his 60-page ruling.