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Sexual Harassment Fight Brewing in SL County

Sexual Harassment Fight Brewing in SL County

Posted - Dec. 21, 2004 at 5:09 p.m.



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John Daley ReportingSalt Lake County officials are again wrestling with controversy. This time a sexual harassment case, which has led to one lawsuit over the original allegations and a fight over whether a report on the case should be made public.

In 2004 Salt Lake County government drew plenty of scrutiny, first over executive perks in the "guzzler gate" scandal, then Mayor Nancy Workman's legal troubles over the alleged misuse of public money involving a pair of jobs at the Boys and Girls Club.

Meantime another contentious fight was brewing over allegations of sexual harassment involving Nick Floros, the former deputy county clerk.

One woman has sued the county alleging she was sexually harassed by Floros. Several others complained he intimidated or harassed them, and that his superiors knew of the actions and did nothing.

The District Attorney, Democrat David Yocom, ordered an investigation, but until now that report has not been made public.

Today the county council met to address the issue. The Deseret Morning News asked the county to release the report, but the DA's office says no. Employees were told when they talked to investigators the information would be kept confidential.

Valerie Wilde, Dep. District Attorney: "We created a county policy that says we'll protect that. And we believe that the county should adhere to that given that the employees were given those promises."

Jeff Hunt, Attorney for Deseret Morning News: "The allegations of sexual harassment are very serious and the public has a right to know the facts and the circumstances regarding the conduct and what the county did about it."

Both Democrats and Republicans have criticized the other of playing politics, but County Clerk Sherrie Swensen --a Democrat-- tells us there was never any attempt to cover up the matter, saying, "No one ever complained to me about inappropriate touching, advances or anything of that nature."

Next stop for the matter will be district court as the county council voted unanimously to deny the request to release the report. The attorney for the Deseret Morning News says he'll likely file a lawsuit next month to make the investigation report public.

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