After a closed session Thursday Orange County officials announced that CEO Tom Mauk would be leaving his CEO position after bungling a sexual harassment and assault investigation.
Even though officials would not state the reason for Mauk’s resignation, it is widely believed his departure along with that of O.C, chief executive director, who took an unexpected medical leave of absence, is related to the sexual assault and harassment allegations against former public works director Carlos Bustamante.
The allegations against Bustamante are salacious. On Thursday he pleaded not guilty to dozens of sexual assault charges filed by seven female employees who worked under him in the public works department over an eight year period.
The women allege that Bustamante repeatedly subjected them to sexual harassment by locking them into his office where he groped and kissed them. He also allegedly pinned the women against a wall and masturbated.
When the women came forward, the investigation under the CEO Tom Mauk and the chief executive director was mishandled. In one instance, a subordinate employee was assigned to investigate the women’s allegations, and another investigation got quietly filed away. No action was taken against Bustamante so he continued to create a hostile work environment and assault female employees.
Bustamante has maintained his innocence throughout the investigations. His attorney asked the case be dismissed because of “derogatory and inflammatory comments” made by prosecutors to the media.
People who are sexually harassed or abused in the workplace expect their employers to put a halt to the misconduct. But too often, they ignore these complaints and employees are forced to hire sexual harassment attorneys to recover any money lost due to retaliation and their emotional distress.