County pays out $175K for ha­rass­ment cases

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - FRONT PAGE - By Isaac Avilucea iav­ilucea@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @IsaacAvilucea on Twit­ter

TREN­TON >> For­mer Mercer County air­port boss Stan­ley Pat­ter­son once claimed he was com­ing after this news­pa­per and his ac­cusers for ex­pos­ing al­le­ga­tions he tried to use his county post to cul­ti­vate his own per­sonal harem while sup­pos­edly in a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship with a county HR big­wig.

“When the smoke clears, I’ll be clear,” Pat­ter­son, who lost his job and his re­la­tion­ship, said in an in­ter­view in Jan­uary.

The only thing that cleared was the checks.

The Tren­to­nian has learned the county so far has qui­etly paid out $175,000 to set­tle claims brought by four women em­ployed by the county who said Pat­ter­son propo­si­tioned them for sex and made sug­ges­tive cracks to them while on the job.

Only three of them sued over their mis­treat­ment, while a fourth woman re­tained the same law firm that rep­re­sented the three ac­cusers who did bring forth civil com­plaints against the county over Pat­ter­son’s al­leged sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Once the sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions came to light, Pat­ter­son, a for­mer Tren­ton Pub­lic Schools cus­to­dian and Weg­mans sale as­so­ciate, was fired from his $83,000-a-year county post that many felt his po­lit­i­cally con­nected ex-girl­friend, county per­son­nel di­rec­tor Raissa Walker, helped him land.

“We have zero tol­er­ance for ha­rass­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind, and at the con­clu­sion of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­le­ga­tions, Pat­ter­son was fired,” county spokes­woman Julie Will­mot said Thurs­day in an emailed state­ment.

In all, the county is pay­ing out $175,000 to three of the four women – all no-fault set­tle­ments – a fig­ure that will bal­loon once the last one is fi­nal­ized.

Will­mot con­firmed the last set­tle­ment with Pat­ter­son’s third ac­cuser is pend­ing fi­nal ap­proval.

The county agreed to pay out $25,000 to set­tle claims from a fourth woman who al­leged she ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar treat­ment while work­ing un­der Pat­ter­son, though she didn’t for­mally file a law­suit.

The big­gest pay­out – $100,000 – went to an air­port shut­tle driver who has been em­ployed with the county since 2015.

She was the first woman who sued to ex­pose Pat­ter­son’s al­leged mis­con­duct, which in­cluded claims that Pat­ter­son re­tal­i­ated against her when she turned down his re­quest for oral sex.

She also con­tended he made her un­com­fort­able by singing sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive Eazy-E rap lyrics of “put it in your mouth” and talk­ing about his pe­nis.

The al­leged two-tim­ing Pat­ter­son ap­par­ently came on to the woman even though he was dat­ing and liv­ing with Walker, who quickly dumped her on-the-prowl man once the women aired his dirty laun­dry.

The county set­tled for $50,000 with a sec­ond woman who also worked un­der Pat­ter­son after she stepped for­ward in Oc­to­ber 2017 with even more em­bar­rass­ing al­le­ga­tions that the for­mer air­port boss asked her dur­ing a Christ­mas party in 2015 to have a three­some with him and Walker, the law­suit al­leged.

The woman said Pat­ter­son con­tin­ued to ha­rass her at work after she turned down his in­de­cent pro­posal, which in­cluded graphic talk about how his now-for­mer girl­friend liked to be touched.

Grow­ing fed up, the sec­ond vic­tim out­lined that she com­plained to county brass about ev­ery­thing when she saw Pat­ter­son watch­ing porn on his phone at work.

Pat­ter­son, who the woman sur­mised had a foot fetish based off their in­ter­ac­tions, ap­par­ently ap­proached his ac­cuser once he learned she went to his su­pe­ri­ors com­plain­ing that he could no longer “talk to you” be­cause she blabbed about their con­ver­sa­tions.

The fam­ily of Pat­ter­son’s third ac­cuser, who died in April, stands to make a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of change based off Pat­ter­son’s creepy an­tics, but a county spokes­woman said she didn’t have an ex­act fig­ure since the set­tle­ment wasn’t fi­nal­ized.

That woman also stepped for­ward with her al­le­ga­tions in a law­suit. Among other things, she said Pat­ter­son promised he would take care of her fi­nan­cially if she slept with him.

The woman said Pat­ter­son, who ap­par­ently fan­cied him­self a cash-flash­ing phi­lan­derer, told her “Stop play­ing. F—k me and your bills will stay paid.” He also al­legedly told her he was a breast man and wanted to “suck those tit­ties,” that he wanted the woman to “shake this head,” re­fer­ring to his pe­nis, and that he was “too much in bed” for his girl­friend, her law­suit out­lined. The fourth woman, who never for­mally filed suit, is get­ting $25,000 to set­tle what her at­tor­ney said were “sim­i­larly sit­u­ated” al­le­ga­tions against Pat­ter­son. At­tor­ney Kevin Costello, who rep­re­sented all four of Pat­ter­son’s ac­cusers, de­clined to fur­ther com­ment on the set­tle­ments. In a pre­vi­ous ram­bling, blame-game in­ter­view with The Tren­to­nian this year, Pat­ter­son took of­fense to be­ing cast in the same light as dis­graced movie mogul Har­vey We­in­stein, cast as­per­sions on his ac­cusers and claimed he was the “sacri­fi­cial lamb” for the county to claim it is se­ri­ous about crack­ing down on work­place sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the #MeToo era. “It’s a lie,” he said. “These women are try­ing to get a pay­day.” Pat­ter­son, who also claimed he would be cleared of any wrong­do­ing and go on to sue his ac­cusers and The Tren­to­nian for tar­nish­ing his good rep­u­ta­tion, couldn’t be reached for com­ment. His cell phone had been dis­con­nected or he had changed his num­ber.

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