Former NBA basketball player and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is being accused of sexual harassment by a city employee who had previously worked as an aide in the Sacramento city manager’s office. The alleged harassment reportedly took place over the course of seven months.
According to a copy of a claim form which was filed last month with the City Clerk’s Office and acquired by The Sacramento Bee, Estrellita Ilee Muller, 32, alleges that Mayor Johnson had summoned her to his private library through his security officer, proceeded to feel her up, and then attempted to kiss her. Muller says her supervisors did nothing to protect her, despite her filing an initial complaint in October of 2014, which the city’s human resources director deemed “insufficient.” The claim said she is seeking $200,000 in damages.
During a news conference at City Hall on Thursday, Mayor Johnson denied the allegations Muller brought against him. The “incident described in the complaint simply never happened. Ever,” he said. “After a complete and thorough investigation, the city has concluded not once – but twice – that the allegations are unsubstantiated,” he insisted, reportedly reading from a prepared statement. He refused to take questions from reporters. City Attorney James Sanchez echoed his sentiment.
According to the Bee, Mayor Johnson’s office issued a statement on behalf of Muller’s attorney, Etan Rosen, saying, “My client is satisfied with the conclusion of this matter.” The Bee confirmed that Muller would not be seeking a civil lawsuit, but it is unclear whether a settlement has been reached.
This is not the first time Johnson has come under fire for alleged sexual misconduct. In 1997, Johnson signed a $230,000 draft confidential settlement to a Phoenix teenager who said he had molested her, notes the Bee. In 2008, a former Sacramento teacher filed a police report alleging that a 17-year-old student at the school told him Johnson had approached her from behind, massaged her shoulders, and touched her breasts. Police reportedly found the allegation to be “unfounded” after the girl recanted her story. A separate allegation filed by the same teacher suggests Johnson attempted to get into bed with a volunteer from a program that is part of a nonprofit he started, the St. Hope organization; the allegation was reportedly not investigated because the woman was not a minor.