On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement in an employment matter involving the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District and its former executive director Lamar Thorpe for $350k.
According to the settlement agreement, Jasmine Cisneros and Jocelyn Munoz claimed sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, hostile working conditions and forced resignation of employment by the District its executive director Lamar Thorpe, who is also the Mayor of the City of Antioch.
According to the agenda:
In re Claims of Jasmine Cisneros and Jocelyn Munoz. On August 16, 2022, the Board of Supervisors, in its capacity as the successor agency to the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, unanimously approved a settlement in this employment matter involving the former District and its former executive director. The settlement agreement for $350,000, inclusive of attorneys’ fees and costs, was fully executed on August 23, 2022. The funding source is the former District’s liability insurance carrier, less a $29,000 deductible payment paid from the Los Medanos Community Healthcare fund.
Editors Note — the names of the plaintiffs were already made public, the only information that this publication has redacted is their home addresses
Although the agenda and staff report did not name Lamar Thorpe, documents provided by Thomas L. Geiger, Chief Assistant County Counsel, highlighted Thorpe was the accused. He also provided all documents upon request.
According to the documentation, all claims were disputed and the allegations of wrongdoing were denied. The document further states to avoid expenses and inconveniences of further legal proceedings , they wished to dismiss all proceedings, if any, without any finding or admissions of fault or liability by any person or entity.
Thorpe was appointed as the Executive Director of the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District in September of 2019 on a part-time basis at $48,000 annually as part of a 3-year contract. In 2021, Thorpe’s salary ballooned to $96,000 and eventually to $150k per year.
In March, the California Supreme Court denied an appeal by the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (District), which resulted in the dissolution of the District which is now controlled by Contra Costa County.
Here is what the documents provided by the county showed:
Date & Circumstance of Injury: Jasmine Cisneros worked for Los Medanos Community Healthcare District as a Community Outreach Specialist from approximately 2020 to November 4, 2021, when she was forced to resign her employment. Ms. Cisneros resigned due to sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, hostile working conditions, and other unlawful actions resulting from Executive Director Lamar Thorpe’s misconduct, and the District’s inaction, despite having knowledge of that misconduct. Ms. Cisneros has been injured as a result of Thorpe’s misconduct and the Districts inaction. Thorpe’s unwanted sexual advances, harassment, and other unlawful behavior continued until Ms. Cisneros resigned. Ms. Cisneros was forced to resign her employment as a result of Thorpe’s misconduct and the District’s inaction and has been harmed economically in the form of lost wages and emotional distress damages.
Date & Circumstance of Injury: Jocelyn Munoz worked for Los Medanos Community Healthcare District for approximately eight months, from early 2021 to September 2, 2021, when she was forced to resign her position. Ms. Munoz resigned due to sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances, hostile working conditions, and other unlawful actions resulting from Executive Director Lamar Thorpe’s misconduct, and the District’s inaction, despite having knowledge of that misconduct. Thorpe’s unwanted sexual advances, harassment, and other unlawful behavior continued until Ms. Munoz resigned on Sept. 2, 2021. Ms. Munoz has been injured as a result of Thorpe’s misconduct and the District’s inaction. Moreover, Ms. Munoz was forced to resign her employment as a result of Thorpe’s misconduct and the Districts inaction and has been harmed economically in the form of lost wages and emotional distress damages.
Exhibit A Letter
On Sept, 3, 2021 a letter (exhibit 1) by Jocelyn Munoz was sent to Pat Young, President at the healthcare district highlighting concerns of Munoz. She highlighted the sexual misconduct, harassment and hostile working conditions over a period of 8-months,
According to the letter:
To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing this letter because in the past 8 months that I have been employed with the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District I have experienced many levels of harassment and very high levels of hostile working conditions from board members and management. LMCHD has a culture of disrespect, bullying and harassment. For example, board members berating staff during public meetings, board members directly calling staff on their personal devices and criticizing how staff does their job.
“In the season of AB 903 celebration in early July 2021, my partner and I met with the executive director for LMCHD, Lamar Thorpe at La Plazuela in Antioch, CA to socialize and celebrate the win. While we were seated, Lamar came between my partner and I, looked down at my leg and grabbed my leg; specifically my calf. While still holding my calf, he acknowledged the act and said “this is sexual harassment, I should stop” and let go. In that same instance, my partner and I agreed to his statement and said “yeah what are you doing?!” Being fearful of my job, status and Lamars social status as Mayor of Antioch and executive director I felt his simple acknowledgement was sufficient and I physically moved on, but mentally I still felt trapped.
Following that traumatizing experience, I witnessed another horrifying act on August 30, 2021 at the CSDA conference where I saw Lamar inappropriately grope my colleague when we (my partner, my colleague and executive director) were out socializing and walking back to our hotel.
Immediately following the grope, my colleague got my undivided attention, looked me in my eyes and said, “PLEASE walk me back to my room”. My partner and I escorted my colleague to her room, and Lamar opened his hotel door to check on us and give us a sinister look. At that moment, my partner and I left our hotel room.
The next day on August 31, 2021 my colleague, my partner, Lamar and I went to lunch and were discussing what other seminars to attend, that’s where Lamar joked about attending the “sexual harassment training and prevention” and also joked about the inappropriate grope that happened the night before.
My colleague and I in fact attended the sexual harassment and prevention seminar and received certificates of completion.
Later that evening of August 31, 2021 my colleague, my partner and I were having dinner and Lamar texted us “are y’all coming to this reception?” referring to the conference networking mix and mingle. We did not respond and saw Lamar walk by our table and he ignored us. A few minutes later Lamar approached our table sand said “Hey haters!” and made two inappropriate hand gestures, showing his middle fingers and walked away.
The next day on September 1, 2021 my colleague and I attended the SDRMA full plated breakfast and keynote speaker Jason Hewlett. I was horrified at the gestures Jason was doing; he violently thrusting his crotch and grabbing his belt buckle at the room filled with 700 other attendees who were laughing and clapping. I was horrified at the fact that I sat through 3 hour sexual harassment seminar explaining what Jason did was not okay and we excused ourselves.
Later that same evening of September 1, 2021 Lamar texted my colleague and I “yo y’all wanna go to Rolando’s house”. I politely declined, and then I heard a knock on my hotel door. I did not answer fearing that it was Lamar. A few seconds later Lamar called me and asked if I was in my room, confirming that the knock was him. He requested to meet with me to have a discussion.
During the discussion he acknowledged the level of discomfort that he was feeling about the conversation and also stated that he didn’t want to have it. He opened with “are we cool?” At that moment I felt cornered, trapped, triggered and manipulated into having to relive the events that happened Monday night. The conversation went on for 15 minutes to which he was trying to get a temperature check on the situation at hand. At the end of the conversation, he asked what he could do to make things better. We met up with my partner inside the restaurant where he then approached my partner and apologized to him, shook his hand and excused himself.
The final day, September 2, 2021 as we all were exiting the conference, I approached Lamar to quickly discuss my personal reimbursement for the conference. I said thank you, and he then proceeded to walk with me and said, “You still don’t seem ok” referring to the events from Monday and the conversation we had the night before August 31, 2021. I quickly made an excuse to try and avoid anymore discussion regarding Monday night, but that didn’t help and I ended the conversation by stating I wouldn’t be comfortable with anymore continued unwanted advances.
I hope this reveals the level of unprofessionalism at LMCHD, and I hope that this matter gets resolved in the best and most appropriate way. These past events have severely hindered my efficiency at work, my mental health and I don’t know how I can support LMCHD as an employee.
Back in March of this year, Antioch City Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock called on Thorpe to resign for a DUI while also referencing she had been made aware of sexual harassment accusations against Thorpe.
Here is her full statement:
Due to this weekend’s lack of control and poor decision making on the part of Mayor Lamar Thorpe, I feel duty bound to share my thoughts, not only concerning Lamar’s driving while intoxicated but the lack of respect he shows to the residents of Antioch.
- Our mayor has taken to using ad-hominem, bigoted and misogynistic terms to attack his constituents rather than provide a rebuttal of his position. His title for his campaign is, “Stop, the #Karen Recall of Mayor Lamar Thorpe.”Dictionary.com defines “Karen” as “a pejorative slang term for an obnoxious, angry, entitled, and often racist middle-aged white woman who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors. In 2020 Karen spread as a label used to call out white women who were captured in viral videos engaging in what are widely seen as racist attacks. The mayor has chosen on two different occasions to refer to me as a “Karen”. To call a woman today a “Karen” is to evoke an image of white privilege that in no way represents the life struggles millions of women endured to achieve equality, respect, and representation.
- Mayor Thorpe chose to drink and get behind the wheel of his vehicle, while intoxicated. He not only endangered himself but others. He stated he is sorry for his actions, well how sorry is he truly? He wants us to believe he had only “a drink” with dinner. We all know this is a fallacy. So, to me his apology is far from being sincere.
- It has been brought to my attention that two women have filed a Sexual Harassment Complaint against Mayor Thorpe. The complaint has been filed with the former Los Medanos Healthcare District, City of Antioch, and State of California. And yes, I personally verified the facts prior to sharing this repulsive information.
We need to make a change in our leadership, and we need to do it quickly. Mr. Thorpe needs to step down as the mayor of our beautiful city. If he so chooses not to, I will put all my energy into the success of the campaign to recall him as mayor. Antioch citizens deserve better, do the right thing Mayor Thorpe and step down immediately!
Barbanica Called on Thorpe to Resign
On the day of the DUI Arrest, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica had also called on Thorpe to resign.
He told ABC7, “We need our public officials our elected officials to be held to a higher standard,” said Councilmember Mike Barbanica. “I am asking the mayor step down, deal with your legal issue that occurred recently and don’t put the city through this.”
Thorpe Accused of Sexual Harassment in 2007
Back in 2007, the GW Hatchet reported Student Judicial Services found last year’s Student Association President Lamar Thorpe guilty of disorderly conduct for “lewd and indecent behavior,” and not guilty of sexual harassment and alcohol charges, according to SJS documents given to The Hatchet.
A female sophomore accused Thorpe and then-Vice President of Student Activities Richard Fowler of forcing her to perform oral sex and drink excessively in September 2006, a University Police Department Incident Report states. The report, which was filed on April 22, classifies the alleged offense as first-degree sexual abuse. Both Thorpe and Fowler have repeatedly said they are unaware of the alleged incident and of a case before SJS.
Thorpe, who is a presidential administrative fellow attending graduate school for free at GW this fall, lost an appeal to overturn the disorderly conduct charge, according to SJS records. A sanction letter states that his punishment is one year of disciplinary probation until May 2008.
Check back for updates.