Editor’s Note: This story contains adult language. Please be advised.
An alleged sexual harassment controversy that ensnared former Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes is generating fresh headaches for Sarah Hacker, the prosecutor and attorney who bested him in the 2022 election.
Two Kings County employees have filed complaints Hacker, the new Kings County District Attorney, claiming harassment and discrimination stemming from alleged derogatory comments made against Fagundes.
State of play: Kings County employees Charlie Flores and Julia Patino filed the complaints with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which date back to January, shortly after Hacker took office. The complaints centered on an incident in early January during a meeting between Hacker and Flores, who is a chief investigator for the district attorney’s office.
- In his complaint Flores said he and fellow investigator Chris Jackson met with Hacker on Jan. 11 to discuss a criminal case. They told Hacker that Fagundes had been previously briefed on the matter, which allegedly drew an outburst from Hacker.
- Flores claims Hacker called Fagundes “That Goddamn c*ck-sucking, cum-licking, pineapple-eating f*ggot.”
- Flores said he spoke with Hacker about the incident two days later, since which he has been subject to workplace retaliation
The backstory: Flores and Patino filed the complaints through Visalia law firm Melo and Sarsfield, the same attorneys who represented Fagundes in his sexual harassment case from 2021.
- Robert Waggle, the former top investigator in the district attorney’s office, claimed Fagundes repeatedly touched him in a sexual manner and directed sexual comments toward him.
- Waggle’s initial complaint against Fagundes included reference to pineapples, claiming that the former DA stated that “eating pineapples would make male ejaculation… taste sweeter…”
- Waggle agreed to a settlement with Kings County last year.
State of play: In her complaint, Patino said she has been encouraging and supporting Flores, which has led to her being placed on administrative leave and retaliated against.
- Patino filed a second complaint saying she was placed on medical leave, per orders from her doctor, and is required by Hacker to call the district attorney’s office every day to report her schedule.
- Flores also filed a second complaint on the basis that he was discriminated against because he is a man. He claims that two other female county employees made complaints in the last year and were offered transfers while he was not.
What they’re saying: Hacker told The Valley Voice that she denies the allegations and that she looks forward to the civil discovery process and what it will reveal.
- “I deny everything in the complaints,” Hacker told the publication. “All allegations made by Mr. Flores are false.”