11:03 PM PST on Wednesday, January 27, 2010
By IMRAN GHORI
An investigative report into allegations that San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos sexually harassed and retaliated against an employee who says the pair had an affair describes his accuser as having an agenda against him.
The county released the 183-page report Wednesday, a day after a four-hour closed-session meeting in which the Board of Supervisors first saw the report and met with the attorneys who handled the investigation.
The county released a three-page summary of the report’s findings about two weeks ago. The summary said no evidence was found that Ramos retaliated against Cheryl Ristow, an investigative technician in his office.
While Ramos said Wednesday that he welcomed the findings, Ristow said the report did not include interviews with people who could corroborate her story.
Ristow, who has been on stress leave since July, said she and Ramos had a 17-month affair that ended in 2005, and that he and three other top officials retaliated against her last May when it appeared the affair would be made public. She filed a complaint in August. Ramos has denied the allegations and held that he would be vindicated.
The full report, based on interviews with Ramos, Ristow and several other employees in the office whose names were redacted, describes Ristow as “the party with an agenda from the get-go.”
“We could not find anything despite extensive inquiry, to suggest that she was threatened to ‘keep quiet’ on pain of retribution by way of investigation and the threat of discipline,” states the report, authored by attorneys Glen Kraemer and Reed Schaper, from the Santa Monica firm Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer LLP.
Ramos said in a statement released through his office, “I am gratified that the report reflects what I have said from the beginning: These allegations are untrue. Neither I nor any member of my office did anything inappropriate.”
A statement released through his private attorney included harsher criticism of Ristow, calling her “an admitted liar” with a pattern of boasting about “mythical sexual conquests.”
Ristow criticized the report, accusing the county’s Human Resources Department of wanting to clear Ramos and discredit her.
“This report is slanted to show Mike Ramos as the victim,” Ristow said.
The report notes that the attorneys investigated only the hostile workplace allegations because Ristow described the affair as consensual and “specifically disavowed” a sexual harassment claim. For that reason, investigators did not look into whether an affair actually took place, the attorneys said.
However, Ristow, who has since filed a legal claim, said she did raise allegations of sexual harassment. Ristow claimed she continued to receive unwanted advances from Ramos after the alleged affair ended.
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