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California’s lone female sheriff accused of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is often thought of as a woman’s problem — especially today, when many women are stepping forward with allegations of sexual harassment in various industries going back decades. However, the latest accusations of sexual harassment to hit the news involve men who say they were harassed by the state’s first — and only — female sheriff.

The string of accusations started with a letter. In it, a corrections officer claimed that the woman who is now a sheriff was his supervisor in 1994. He claimed she harassed him repeatedly, while he kept silent out of fear.

When the letter came to light, other men stepped forward with similar stories. Some of the complaints go all the way back to the 1980s and involve episodes of binge drinking, exposed bodies and propositions in the back of unmarked cars. All of the men claim that the woman was her supervisor at the time of the incidents — which put them in precarious positions. They were afraid that refusing her advances would cost them their jobs.

In fact, one officer claims that he was propositioned by the sheriff while she was his supervisor at a local prison. He ignored her obvious advances at the time — a move that may have haunted him later. After a period of disability, he had to talk to the woman involved about getting back to work and she reminded him of his rebuff several years earlier.

The sheriff denies the allegations and intimated that they were part of a political agenda to damage her reputation and office as she runs for another term in office.

These kinds of accusations are almost becoming commonplace as victims are finding their voices throughout the country. It seems like a curtain has been drawn back on an issue that was barely hidden. Stories like this, however, show that sexual harassment isn’t about gender — it’s about power. For many victims of sexual harassment, merely telling their stories is a way of taking that power back.

Source:, “California’s First Woman Sheriff Facing Multiple Sexual Harassment Accusations,” June 04, 2018