Sex suit against former Supt. Cortines dismissed, district says
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has dismissed a sexual harassment lawsuit against former L.A. schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines, according to a spokesman for the school district.
The judge ruled that real estate manager Scot Graham failed to file the case within the time limit allowed for sexual harassment litigation, said Sean Rossall. The judge did not rule on the merits of the allegations, Rossall said Saturday.
Before the lawsuit was filed, a claim against the district had been tentatively settled last May. But that agreement unraveled after L.A. Unified announced the deal before Graham had signed the papers. Graham’s attorneys alleged that the resulting publicity led to more harm and sought additional compensation.
Graham, 56, could not be immediately reached, but he had been sharply critical of the school system in a late January email.
“The facts alone without ever hearing my side of the story should be sickening to the community,” Graham wrote. “Superintendent Cortines admitted that he took a married employee to his vacation home and had inappropriate sexual relations. It is a fact that I reported my extreme trauma to my superiors three times within a month.”
He added that he had been “fearful for my marriage and job,” and that “there was no investigation and I was counseled to seek therapy.”
“Last year, when I did come forward after coming clear to my spouse, I have been, outed, my job has been diminished, I have been made the villain against the 'kindly retiring Cortines' and EVERY effort has been made to fire me,” Graham wrote.
District officials have denied any wrongdoing in their handling of Graham's allegations.
Cortines has said that he and Graham had a consensual sexual encounter at Cortines' Kern County ranch in July 2010. He acknowledged bad judgment but denied harassing Graham. Cortines, 80, retired in April, 2011.
The tentative settlement had included a $200,000 payment, lifetime health benefits and Graham’s resignation. After it unraveled, Graham returned to work at his $150,000-a-year position.
-- Howard Blume