January 27, 2010 10:12 AM
Natasha Lindstrom

SAN BERNARDINO • An independent investigation into alleged harassment and hostile work environments found San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos and his colleagues did not retaliate against a female employee who filed a $1.5 million claim against the county.

“Ultimately, the weight of evidence compels a finding that there was no retaliation taken against Ristow,” states the report by Santa Monica-based legal firm Curiale Hirschfield Kraemer.

The 183-page report, completed on Jan. 12, was released to the public around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday. The investigation focused on alleged retaliation against Cheryl Ristow, former investigative technician for the District Attorney’s office, from June to August 2009.

In August, Ristow, of Redlands, filed a complaint with the county accusing Ramos of sexual harassment, saying he pursued her after a 3 1/2-year “intimate relationship” between them ended. Ristow also said she faced a hostile work environment and retaliation, including being written up for prior “trivial” violations.

According to the report, investigators interviewed the following people about the complaint: Ristow; Ramos; Andrew Lamberto, director of human resources; 3rd District Supervisor Neil Derry; Derry’s chief of staff, George Watson; and Mark DeBoer. Sixteen other witness names have been redacted.

On Jan. 15 the county Department of Human Resources released a statement saying the report had found there was no retaliation aimed at Ristow, and that the performance-related actions taken against her were “based on objective, verifiable and current concerns.”

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