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Kevin Johnson denies sexual harassment claim

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson says that an internal investigation has vindicated him from accusations by a city employee that he sexually harassed her several times from late 2013 to mid-2014. The accuser, who recently has filed suit, says she was forced to turn down a promising new job to avoid being around Johnson.

The plaintiff formerly worked in the city manager’s office. According to her claim, the sexual harassment began in December 2013 when Johnson asked her to join him in his private library at City Hall. She says that Johnson gave her “an unwelcome and close hug,” fondled her torso and tried to kiss her. When she pushed away and told Johnson she was married, he allegedly proposed that they begin a sexual relationship.

The plaintiff says she declined, but that Johnson told her to think about it. He said he would come by her desk in a few weeks for an answer. Based on an article by the Los Angeles Times, it does not appear that such an encounter did not allegedly take place until July 2014, when Johnson accused the plaintiff of avoiding him.

A month later, the plaintiff claims, Johnson again approached her and asked her to show him her hands. She did so, and Johnson played with her thumbs, she says. She is seeking $200,000 in damages. Her suit says she took a job in another department to get away from Johnson, and that she had to decline a job “with higher pay and flexibility” to avoid encountering the mayor.

At a recent press conference, Johnson denied all the allegations. He said an internal investigation performed by the city, along with a review by outside counsel found no wrongdoing on his part.