good times local news media events catalyst santa cruz california metro silicon valley news local events san jose weekly pajaronian watsonville local newspaper, news events pajaro valley california gilroy dispatch local news events garlic festival santa cruz media events local california weekly king city rustler newspaper media local events car sales buy new car media
57.4 F
Hollister
English English Spanish Spanish
June 28, 2022

Probation Turmoil Subsides

Hollister
– Two Juvenile Hall employees placed on administrative leave
last month after allegations of sexual improprieties surfaced were
cleared of any wrongdoing Monday following an investigation by the
San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.
Hollister – Two Juvenile Hall employees placed on administrative leave last month after allegations of sexual improprieties surfaced were cleared of any wrongdoing Monday following an investigation by the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.

Manuel Gonzales, a former Juvenile Hall guard, filed an application for a late wrongful termination claim against the county in mid-October. In the claim, Gonzales alleged sexual improprieties among Probation Department employees.

“There should be absolutely no cloud of suspicion hanging over these hard working employees. According to the investigative report provided by the County Sheriff’s Department all the charges are ‘unfounded,'” County Administrative Officer Susan Thompson said in a press release Monday.

The two unnamed employees placed on administrative leave in mid-October will return to work and will not face disciplinary action, Thompson said.

San Benito County Sheriff Curtis Hill said the county and Interim Chief Probation Officer Mary Covell had requested that the Sheriff’s Office investigate the claims in late October.

“We had been asked to look into the matter by the county and interim chief,” Hill said. “We (had) some deputies investigating.”

Rich Inman, San Benito County Director of Internal Services, said there have been no further suspensions following those of two high-ranking Probation Department officials – San Benito County Chief Probation Officer Deborah Botts and Juvenile Hall Superintendent Tim Pierleoni – in early October, and the suspension of two other Probation Department employees in mid-October. Inman said Pierleoni and Botts remain on administrative leave and could not comment on decisions about their future in the department.

Steven Cohn, Pierleoni’s counsel, previously told the Free Lance his client was suspended on a host of “unofficial charges” ranging from accessing pornography at work to extramarital affairs with Juvenile Hall personnel. He said his client was never told the exact reasons for his administrative leave, but was instead questioned about “vague charges.”

Cohn previously told the Free Lance Pierleoni is unsure if he wants to return to work for the county.

“Mr. Pierleoni no longer has a desire to work for the county when the county doesn’t stand behind its management in the face of such transparent allegations made by an individual with great motivation to fabricate them,” Cohn said in late October.

The findings help calm some of the turmoil surrounding the Probation Department in recent months.

The Probation Department has continued to function and keep pace with its workload, according to Covell. Gil Solorio, the San Benito County Superior Court clerk, said the court calendar has not fallen off pace.

“Mary Covell has been doing a wonderful job as interim chief,” Solorio said. “We’ve been fortunate.”

Gonzales filed an application for a late wrongful termination claim against the county, claiming he was fired for exposing inappropriate conduct within the Probation Department. Gonzales was fired in January after being arrested for gun possession and possession of prescription pills in December of 2005.

In the claim, Gonzales alleges Pierleoni had sexual relations with two named employees and gave favorable treatment to female employees. Gonzales further alleges in the claim, which is a precursor to a civil lawsuit, that Pierleoni had a sexual relationship with one other woman, who was not an employee, “in the workplace.”

Cohn previously told the Free Lance Gonzales’ allegations are without merit.

“Mr. Pierleoni adamantly denies that he had sexual relations with employees, while one of the females identified similarly denied it,” Cohn said.

Michael Van Cassell covers public safety for the Free Lance. He can be reached at 831-637-5566 ext. 335 or [email protected]

Please leave a comment

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SOCIAL MEDIA

4,205FansLike
150FollowersFollow
1,120FollowersFollow