Ohio County Settles Sexual Harassment Cases

September 15, 2006

Warren County, Ohio has settled federal lawsuits filed by five county employees who accused a former judge of sexual harassment.

Common Pleas Judge Dallas Powers retired last year after a plea agreement involving charges stemming from a courthouse scandal around his extramarital affair with a courthouse employee.

County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to pay the five settlements ranging from $40,000 to $165,000. Four other court employees had reached settlements earlier; one case remains unresolved.

The settlement money comes from insurance companies that cover the county and Powers, said Bruce McGary, an assistant county prosecutor. He said Powers, 72, was paying $25,000 toward the settlements.

Attorney Charlie Rittgers, who represented four people who sued in the case, said the settlements enable them to move on without having to relive the alleged harassment in a trial.

“It concludes a bad chapter in their lives, which, through no fault of their own, was brought upon them by a judge that just went off the deep end,” Rittgers said.

Powers last year pleaded guilty to charges of intimidation and aiding and abetting the receiving of improper compensation. He also pleaded no contest to three charges of public indecency and two charges of intimidation.

He received a suspended one-year sentence and three years’ probation and agreed to retire and have no contact with Warren County Court.

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