Rosselló presses O’Neill for details of sexual harassment suit
SAN JUAN — Gov. Ricardo Rosselló demanded Guaynabo mayor Héctor O’Neill explain within 24 hours if he in effect settled a $300,000 lawsuit for sexual harassment against a municipal employee, and where he obtained the funds to pay for it.
Last Thursday the chief executive had requested O’Neill for comment, but declined to state his opinion on the matter, arguing he lacked “elements of judgement” to take action against the municipal leader, who is also a New Progressive Party (NPP) official.
“The information that has transcended relating to a transaction about a case of alleged sexual harassment, which involves the mayor of Guaynabo, deserves to be clarified publicly. I have reiterated to [O’Neill] to explain what has been his behavior in regard to the alleged sexual harassment lawsuit against an employee from the Guaynabo Municipality, the circumstances under which he arrived to an agreement with the alleged victim, and the origin of the funds that made part of the transaction,” stated Rosselló in written declarations.
According to a report by Telemundo, the mayor of Guaynabo settled a lawsuit for sexual harassment against a police officer that was presented before the U.S. Labor Department’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition to the $300,000 settlement, the officer reportedly was returned to her supervisory management role, from which she had been removed prior to presenting her complaint.
“I want to reaffirm that sexual harassment and denigrating treatment toward women is not only unacceptable to our society, but punishable by our administration. It is rather unfortunate that a mayor who has done great service for his people, earning voters’ trust on repeated occasions, hasn’t been able to offer an explanation on the matter,” said the governor.
Reports of the lawsuit had been publicized prior to the November 8 general elections, but was dismissed by some as an attempt to tarnish the mayor’s reelection efforts, who went on to triumph in the ballots and continue his role as municipal executive. Rosselló affirmed he will take action as soon as the mayor issues his declarations.