Harassment Charge Believed By Expert
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
A sexual-harassment expert hired by the King County prosecutor has come down hard on the side of a female assistant who complained about her boss, county Ombudsman David Krull.
The expert, Mary Sebek, interviewed seven members of the ombudsman's staff - but not Krull - for her eight-page report, which explored whether Krull and his assistant, Amy Calderwood, were friends, whether Krull had told the assistant that an e-mail document he sent her via the Internet contained sexual material before she agreed to see it, and whether she was in fact offended.
On every point, Sebek said she believed the assistant, not Krull.
"I found no support for his statements that they had a personal friendship that reasonably permitted his sharing a sexual e-mail with her, or that she was the kind of `modern type person' who would not be offended by a sexual e-mail from her male supervisor," Sebek wrote.
Krull said today he expects the Metropolitan King County Council to use the report to fire him on Monday. He's fighting back with a whistle-blower complaint and possibly a lawsuit.
"I'm literally going through all the files on my desk and clearing them up, getting ready for somebody else to come into the office Tuesday," Krull said this morning.
The ombudsman enforces the county code of ethics and fields 12,000 inquiries a year from the public.
Krull, 32, the third person to hold the post in three years, is accused of misconduct in sending the e-mail message to Calderwood.
The message purported to be an 1894 essay by a pastor's wife about avoiding sex in marriage. Calderwood said that before Krull sent it to her, he told her it might be offensive but not that it contained sexual material.
Calderwood, 28, also detailed other complaints about Krull in a seven-page sworn statement attached to the report.
Calderwood wrote that Krull had commented to her twice about large-breasted women - a dance instructor and a personal trainer. She also wrote that another assistant ombudsman told her that Krull had commented on Calderwood's appearance.
Calderwood said those comments and others previously reported about "great hair days" had embarrassed her. She said she was later humiliated that Krull had sent her the sexually explicit e-mail and then criticized her in the media after the dispute became public.
Krull had apologized to Calderwood for the e-mail and thanked her for bringing it to a council member's attention. But in Sebek's report, she characterized those as "Bob Packwood" type statements.
Krull adamantly denies the new accusations of making comments about women's breasts. "That was the reason I filed the whistle-blower complaint, that these charges were getting so outrageous," he said.
He called the Sebek report "not an independent review, but rather a defensive, or rather offensive, litigation posture. It's so clearly one side of the picture only."
Krull noted that the report wasn't signed by Sebek until Saturday, two days after he filed his whistle-blower complaint. Sebek has declined to comment on her investigation.
Councilman Brian Derdowski, a Krull defender, called the Sebek report unreliable. "It appears this investigation was developed in order to develop a legal case against Mr. Krull," Derdowski said. "It's making the decision he is guilty and saying let's go get the facts to prove it."
Krull has held the $64,629-a-year post since November.
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