Photos Are More Evidence That Attorney General Woman’s Sexual-Harassment Complaint Was Bogus

In Sept. 2010, the Ohio Highway Patrol finally released the photos of Cindy Stankoski mentioned in the Ohio inspector general’s report on Marc Dann’s 16-month tenure as attorney general.

Dann had been forced to resign in May 2008 after an internal report supported the claims of Stankoski and Vanessa Stout that they were sexually harassed by Dann’s director of general services, Anthony Gutierrez.

When the internal investigators issued their report on May 2, 2008, they did not have the photos, which were found during the inspector general’s subsequent investigation. The public did not become aware of the photos’ existence until the inspector general issued his report on Dec. 22, 2008.

Without releasing the photos, the inspector general’s report described them this way: “During our investigation, we found several risqué photos of Cindy Stankoski on [coworker] Mariellen Aranda’s cell phone. In each, Stankoski flirtatiously sported Gutierrez’s Attorney General-issued badge at her bosom. Stankoski is now claiming that she was sexually harassed by Gutierrez.”

After obtaining the photos, the inspector general was only able to say Stankoski was “claiming” to have been sexually harassed by Gutierrez. And he seemed to imply that the photos cast doubt on her claim.

Now that the photos have been released, it’s clear the inspector general’s report was expressing mildly the doubt that the photos raise about Stankoski’s claim. When viewed in the context of other evidence in the case, the photos are damning evidence her allegations were fabricated.

The photos are dated Oct. 31, 2007. In Stankoski’s complaint filed in March 2008, her three specific allegations of sexual harassment related to interactions with Gutierrez on Sept. 10, 2007 and two days in early October 2007. Thus, the photos were taken weeks after the alleged traumatic incidents.

According to Stankoski’s testimony to the internal investigators in April 2008, she thought Gutierrez was a harasser, creep, pervert, and sex criminal at the time the photos were taken. Those investigators bought her story, as did the Ohio media.

But if Stankoski really felt that way about Gutierrez, it’s hard to imagine she would want to put his badge on her bosom – of all places – and smilingly and playfully pose for pictures. That’s what she’s shown doing in the photos.

Moreover, two weeks before the photos were shot – but still after the three alleged incidents – Stankoski sent Gutierrez a Boss’s Day card she had made for him.

And more than a month after the photos were taken, Stankoski and Stout came up with the idea of having a birthday party for Gutierrez in the office. Then they planned the party, organized it, collected money for it, and picked up the food for it. In planning the party, Stankoski sought suggestions from coworkers for practical jokes to play on Gutierrez.

Also in December 2007, Stankoski referred a girlfriend for employment in Gutierrez’s section. In doing so, Stankoski was either a terrible friend or else thought Gutierrez was fine to work for.

All those acts were in addition to testimony Stankoski’s coworkers gave about her sending text messages of jokes that were “dirty” or “of sexual nature,” going into Gutierrez’s office and shutting the door behind her, socializing and having lunch with him in his office, joking with him, frequently taking smoke breaks with him, flirting with him, and playing pranks on him.

Overall, the evidence strongly indicates that in the weeks before and after Oct. 31, 2007, Stankoski was just as happy and relaxed as she appears in the photos taken on that date. Her appearance and behavior do not support her claim, made months later, that she had been harassed in a sexually hostile environment. She did not make that allegation until she got angry at Gutierrez for transferring her friend Stout out of his section.

The photos and other evidence support the testimony of Stankoski’s immediate supervisor, who was the assistant director of general services. He told investigators that Stankoski “loved working in our section.” The evidence is also consistent with the testimony of a female coworker who told investigators that Stankoski and Stout were “partyers” whose complaints were “bogus.”

In hastily using allegations of sexual harassment to drive an elected statewide official from office, and smearing the reputations of persons who managed the office, state officials and the Ohio media made a very serious mistake that has caused great harm to many innocent people. The photos are more support for this conclusion.

But the mainstream media completely ignored the release of the photos and the side of the story the photos help to tell. In fact, they have ignored that side of the story from the beginning, enabling Stankoski and Stout to each collect $247,500 of taxpayers’ money to settle the ridiculous sexual-harassment complaints.

After quickly jumping on the bandwagon that forced Dann from office because of the women’s complaints, the mainstream media apparently have no interest in correcting the false version of events they presented to the public.

[The photos can be seen at the end of the posting of this article at the following link:
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/18/2010/3999.]