No aid for Pima College harassment victims

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Several sexual harassment victims of a former Pima Community College chancellor will not get financial compensation because they didn't file charges in time, school officials said.

The college recently reached an undisclosed financial settlement with one of eight women who accused former Chancellor Roy Flores of harassment, the Arizona Daily Star reported last week.

However, the school has no plans to give any monetary redress to victims who kept quiet. Jeff Silvyn, an attorney for the college, said giving money to victims who didn't file timely claims is equivalent to an illegal "gift of public funds" as defined under state law.

According to federal law, workplace harassment claims must be filed within 300 days. Only two victims filed complaints within the statute of limitation.

Liz Watson, an attorney with the National Women's Law Center, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, called the college's decision "unprecedented."

School officials previously acknowledged that harassment did occur and told accreditors it would help the victims. An investigation by PCC's accreditor found the school's Governing Board failed to look into anonymous complaints about Flores. In 2012, the school settled with one of the women for $30,000. This latest settlement calls for the college to publicly acknowledge what occurred and praise victims for coming forward. Chancellor Lee Lambert jointly wrote a statement Aug. 7 with the victim who requested it.

"A critical chapter of the college's past occurred when eight women employed by the college had the courage to come forward and report sexual harassment and retaliation by the former chancellor," the statement said.

The allegations against Flores included calling a victim while naked in his bathtub and trying to force a victim onto a hotel bed during an out-of-town conference. Flores quit shortly after a 2012 internal investigation found the victims' claims "largely credible." However, he cited his health for the reason behind his departure.

Jacquelyn Jackson, a victim who agreed to be publicly identified and a former school administrator, said the college isn't living up to past reassurances of help.

"After everything that went on, some of us are walking away with nothing, paying for our own therapy bills, working at other jobs that pay half of what we made," Jackson said.


Information from: Arizona Daily Star,

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