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District ends investigation

Trustee did engage in unlawful sexual behavior; resigns without consequence

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District ends investigation

Denis Perez / The Advocate

Denis Perez / The Advocate

Denis Perez / The Advocate

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Following the unexpected resignation of Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board President Timothy Farley and an anonymous accusation of sexual misconduct made against him, a preliminary investigation into the allegation found Farley’s accuser’s claim to be credible.

According to Governing Board President John Marquez, investigations into the incident ended upon Farley’s resignation.

In a preliminary summary of the investigation, released Feb. 20 by district Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer Dio Shipp, findings show Farley “did engage in unlawful sexual harassment” three years ago at a vendor-sponsored dinner in Monterey, California.

According to witnesses, a conversation of a sexual nature between Farley and other attendees at the conference led to Farley leaning over to the anonymous complainant, wrapping his arms around her and attempting to kiss her on the mouth.

Upon rejection, he then attempted to put his head in her lap and leered at her breasts.

As his victim laughed nervously, others attempted to lure the seemingly-inebriated Farley away by speaking loudly to him about his wife and kids.

Tim Farley

“I love my wife, but she’s not here,” Farley is reported to have said.

After receiving numerous complaints, the report continues, then-Chancellor Helen Benjamin sought out the recipient of Farley’s unwanted advances to offer an apology for his actions.

The summary states the victim didn’t complain about the incident, or wish to press charges, but said she’s a strong woman.

The district received the anonymous accusatory letter Feb. 2, released its summary findings Feb. 20 and ended its investigation upon Farley’s resignation Feb. 26.

Aside from Farley’s actions, the report calls into question the role witnesses share in reporting clear incidents of sexual improprieties.

“As the district’s chief human resources officer and Title IX officer, one of my goals is to ensure that all members of our campus communities understand how to report incidents of sexual harassment which they may experience or witness in the course of their duties and to bring them to my attention,” Shipp said.

The report states approximately 30 trustees from around the state attended the vendor-sponsored dinner and, although no district staff were present, all of the CCCCD trustees who attended the conference were present.

“The anonymous complaint against former trustee Farley raised our awareness of the need to include our elected trustees in the sexual harassment training program along with our senior administrative leaders,” Shipp said.

“We want to emphasize in that training our policies apply whenever individuals are representing the district at any off-campus events.”

Plans are underway to bring more sexual harassment awareness information to administrators and senior staff.

According to Assembly Bill 1825, all California employers with 50 or more employees must provide two hours of sexual harassment training every two years for managers and supervisors on the prevention and correction of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and remedies available.

Dates for administrative training have already been made available.

“I would strongly encourage each of us to attend one of the in-person meetings,” Chancellor Fred Wood said. “It is my intention to require that all (administrators) also attend one of the live sessions.”

Trustees John E. Marquez, Gary Walker- Roberts, Vicki Gordon and Greg Enholm have all completed a sexual harassment training course within the last two years, according to Pat Kaya, the chancellor’s executive coordinator.

A U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission study of harassment in the workplace found unwanted physical touching was formally reported only 8 percent of the time and sexually coercive behavior was reported by 30 percent of the women who experienced it.

It also found that 6 to 13 percent of individuals who experience harassment file a formal complaint.

“District human resources will be providing Sexual Harassment Prevention Training for all employees at each college and the District Office. The training will be presented by Ms. Stephanie White, attorney at Lozano Smith,” Human Resources Support Services Manager Andrea Medina said.

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District ends investigation