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Amanda Knox sexually harassed in Italian prison

Amanda Knox the U.S. girl who was recently released from an Italian prison after being acquitted on murder chargers and said they she was sexual harassed while being incarcerated there. She claimed that an administrator ordered her into her office at night to talk soley about sex. She also said that she was harassed by female inmates.

The harassment only stopped after complaints from her attorney. "I know that in the case of the female prisoners who harassed Amanda Knox sexually that it didn't go to the limit," she says. "In other words, gradually, Amanda Knox learned how to fend off unwanted advances from female prisoners."

Not it may not be surprising that sexual harassment isn't just a product of the U.S. workplace. It happens outside the U.S. and outside the workplace. But fortunately as an American citizen we have the laws to protect us if we're a U.S. worker. Maybe Italy treats sexual harassment differently, who knows. But perhaps those prison guards could do with a little sexual harassment training.

Congress Tries to Prevent College Sexual harassment


Sexual harassment and violence reduces the value of federal student aid for higher education every school year. Many of the quarter of all women in college who are the victim of a completed or attempted rape interrupt or even end their education as a result of this trauma. 

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights recently increased enforcement of longstanding federal sexual harassment guidelines to protect these victims and our nation's investment in higher education and future. Recognizing that additional reforms are needed to more completely address the challenge, Congress took the next step and introduced the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act or Campus SaVE Act this spring.

The bi-partisan Campus SaVE Act (S. 834/H.R. 2016) modernizes decades old campus safety guidelines found in the Jeanne Clery Act. These enhancements will empower colleges and universities to better prevent and respond to a full spectrum of sexual violence including domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in addition to sexual assault.

Most victims, about 90% according to U.S. Department of Justice research, know their assailants. They are often fellow students from the same social circle which helps to account for why fewer than 5% are ever reported to the police. The greatest threat doesn't lie along a poorly lit walkway; it hides in plain sight in classrooms, residence halls, and student parties.

In addition to this act, colleges should probably seriously consider sexual harassment training for all staff members and the students at the universities. What this will do is help people understand the potential dangerous situations that could easily lead to sexual harassment. Minimizing sexual harassment and violence will lead to better and safer careers for our female students.


Sexual Harassment Leads to Texas Athletic Director Losing His Job

The consequences of sexual harassment seem to come up again and again, but still people don't seem to learn. In this case  Cleve Bryant, Texas' associate athletics director for football operations and a former assistant under Longhorns football coach Mack Brown, was fired earlier this year after an internal investigation determined he sexually harassed a female administrative assistant over a two-year period.

In the university's investigation there was a complain filed by a football department staffer who graduated from the university a few years ago. She told investigators that Bryant pulled down her dress and fondled her breast after she asked about receiving a raise; that he repeatedly told her or sent text messages that he wanted to kiss her; and that he kissed her neck after blocking a doorway once, documents said. Two other women who work in the office allege that Bryant inappropriately kissed them in the past.

All these actions clearly are sexual harassment. Not just the sexual conduct but the tying of sexual favors for promotions, raises and other advancements. Cleve Bryant, who is married, denied the allegations but he was still fired. The woman settled the complaint with the university for unknown compensation.

Once again sexual harassment causes havvoc for the person accused, the accuser, the employer and most likely the families of those involved. Could a simple Texas sexual harassment training have avoided this situation not happen? Maybe or maybe not. But it certainly couldn't have hurt.

Sacramento Professor accused of sexual harassment drops lawsuit

Sexual harassment occurs is more places than just the workplace. Take this case of a  Sacramento State college professor accused of sexually harassing four students and three professors. The battle started in 2005 and 2006 when four female students told other professors in the language department that Corral took them to dinner, made sexual comments or hugged and kissed them.

After being accused of sexual harassment, Spanish professor Wilfrido Corral was fired from the university. He challenged the termination and continued teaching during the lengthy appeals process.

Corral sued Sacramento State the same year, alleging that it botched its investigation and discriminated against him for being Latino. He challenged the termination and continued teaching during the lengthy appeals process. Corral sued Sacramento State the same year, alleging that it botched its investigation and discriminated against him for being Latino.

But now Mr. Corral has dropped his lawsuit against the university and resigned. He agreed to stop teaching and California State University agreed not to pursue him for defense costs, according to a settlement the parties signed in July. No money was exchanged in the settlement, but the university has had to pay more than $900,000 to settle claims from some of the women who said Corral harassed them.

You can see the chaos that can erupt from a case of sexual harassment. Not only does it cost money, but costs jobs and affects people personally. A lot of this could maybe have been mitigated through a program of sexual harassment training at the university. No comments were made of the training that is in place now, but certainly the administrators are going to take a close look to see what can be done to make improvements.


Acton firefighter awarded $400,000 in sexual harassment lawsuit

A former county firefighter-mechanic was awarded nearly $400K in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit arose when he was fired for testifying in a sexual harassment investigation. This was consider sexual harassment related retaliation.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found in favor of 50-year-old Acton resident Donald Rakisits, who was awarded a total of $389,945, most of it for future lost wages.

The plaintiff, who filed his lawsuit in August 2009, joined the Los Angeles County Fire Department in August 2001 as a fire equipment mechanic assigned to the North County Fire Shop in Lancaster and was promoted in November 2007 to assistant chief of fleet services in the same location.

The plaintiff said he is proud of his work with the county and believes the lawsuit was necessary in order to present the truth. Rakisits, who now works for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority, said some of the defense witnesses misrepresented what really happened.

Rakisits testified in 2006 against mechanic Grant DeRose, who was accused of sexual harassment by a department secretary. DeRose was later fired, and Rakisits maintained that his supervisor, Craig Weeks, and others retaliated against him with false allegations of time card fraud and poor behavior.

Rakisits alleged that Chris Burroso, a fire equipment mechanic, threatened him in June 2008 by saying, "All I have to do is take a bar and hit Don over the head and kill him and the problem will be gone."

Rakisits maintains he was transferred to another county fire shop in East Los Angeles in a further act of retaliation, forcing him to daily drive 65 miles to work. He says the collective alleged harassment forced him to quit his job.

But former Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief P. Michael Freeman testified he repeatedly told the plaintiff during a Feb. 6, 2009, meeting that he could remain on the job even after Rakisits said in an an email that he planned to leave.

Rakisits could have withdrawn his resignation, Freeman testified.

According to the county's court papers, DeRose before being fired made numerous complaints against Rakisits, alleging he worked on his personal car while on duty, stole tools, used racial slurs and took county vehicles on personal trips.

Burroso alleged Rakisits committed time card fraud on behalf of another mechanic, the county's court papers state.

Another case of a legal battle and pain and suffering that could easily have been avoided. Maybe sexual harassment training in this situation could have helped. Especially if it helped people become compliant with california AB-1825 rules.