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Friday, November 29, 2013

County: Woman Conceded to Being Groped By Juvenile Worker

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:50 PM

The county—after a months-long procedural lapse—has offered a conflicted response to claims one of its juvenile probation officers forcibly groped a colleague's vagina last summer.

While one portion of the document explicitly denies Department of Community Justice staffer Leslie Taylor made lewd comments to a county contractor before running his hand up her dress in July 2012, it also mounts another defense: that she asked for the conduct

"Plaintiff consented to all of the touching at issue in Plaintiff's claims," reads one of the county's six affirmative defenses. As is typical, attorneys are asking a judge to toss the entire case.

Such responses are supposed to be filed within 30 days, but as of Wednesday the court had no record of an answer to the August 23 suit. It turns out an assistant county attorney filed one all the way back in early October— she just attached the wrong case number to the document, and didn't realize her mistake until the Mercury pointed it out.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit—who we're not naming because she's the victim of an alleged sexual assault—works for the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC), which contracts with the county to help juvenile offenders. As the Mercury's reported, she met Taylor through the job early last year. The suit says he immediately "demonstrated inappropriate sexual interest" in comments and touching, and that the woman asked two co-workers to speak with him about his behavior.

Things settled down, but the woman says on July 18, 2012, Taylor groped her as they were returning from visiting a client, saying "I can tell you're clenching your pussy for me."

The woman told her boss the following month, and filed a report with the Portland Police Bureau in October 2012. But she refused cops' wishes that she participate in a "pretext call," in which she'd phone Taylor and elicit a confession. No charges have been filed.

Taylor—who works with troubled juvenile offenders— was put on paid administrative leave from his $64,289-a-year position beginning last November. He was allowed to return in April.

Taylor told cops it is the woman who'd been flirting with him. He says she "grabbed his hand and placed it on her leg," according to a police report, pinning her behavior on office politics.

The lawsuit also says the county was negligent in employing Taylor, claiming he "had for many years engaged in sexually harassing conduct against women who came into contact with him in the workplace." While the county has refused to talk about past complaints against Taylor, the police report backs up the woman's claims.

"I asked Taylor if he is aware of other sexual harassment allegations against him at work and he said he was," officer David Hughes wrote.

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