The Bulletin today has a piece on the DeWolf sexual harrassment case, with much more detail. It’s rather appalling. Touching on some points:
- Apparently “Deschutes County policy requires employees to report sexual harassment…. Violating the policy can draw penalties that range from a warning to dismissal, according to the policy.” While I think sexual harrassment is a pretty serious offense, this policy seems awfully harsh for the victim—I mean, not only could you be subjected to the harrassment to begin with, you could lose your job for being too embarrassed or scared to report it? Wow. Sounds like a great way to breed a culture of fear and avoidance.(The article does mention that none of the employees—there are at least three—who knew about it have been disciplined specifically under this policy, though one of them has been suspended pending the ongoing investigation of the juvenile department that pulled the trigger on this whole mess.)
- When he was first interviewed for the juvenile department investigation, “DeWolf said the investigation would have never been authorized had he not taken a month off over the summer to attend a public policy school at Harvard University.” Hmmmm. Is he admitting that he would have hindered this investigation, given the chance? Sounds criminal.
- The article covers the incident in question in detail. It illustrates some pretty blatant behavior on DeWolf’s part—this is the stuff in particular that I found appalling. In particular I have a hard time reconciling that with DeWolf’s resignation statement where he declares: “I stand by my statement of August 9 that the incident from two years ago was resolved the day after it occurred. Valid county policy was followed in that resolution”—except for the county policy that requires sexual harrassment to be reported. Or, when he says this:
People have asked what purpose was served by the Lane County Deputy District Attorney holding a press conference in the county office building. They’ve asked what purpose was served by bringing up an incident from twelve years ago. They’ve asked what purpose was served when he used such salacious and sensational language in declaring his intention not to file charges. They’ve asked what purpose was served by the media quoting that salacious and sensational language. I have no answer for these questions.
Talk about avoidance—trying to lay the blame for all this coming out into the open on the Lane County DA(!). Seems to me the answer to those questions is pretty obvious; it prompted a much-needed housecleaning.