COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A woman who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city of Columbus will receive $250,000 — including $25,000 from the man accused of harassing her.
Columbus City Council approved a settlement Monday of $225,000 for a former fire department cadet who alleged that she was sexually assaulted and harassed by former Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Joe Richard.
The settlement also requires Richard, who no longer works for the division, to pay the woman $25,000, Councilmember Shayla Favor said at the meeting.
The city denied Richard its legal representation and did not provide him with recommendations, said George Speaks, the city’s deputy director of public safety.
“The investigation made clear his actions were unacceptable and incompatible with the values and mission of Columbus Fire,” Speaks said.
In the lawsuit, the woman claimed that in May of 2019, she was called into Richard’s office and asked about a knee injury. She said Richard asked to see her knee and coerced her into removing her clothing.
She then said when she tried to leave, Richard touched her sexually and threatened her with expulsion from the cadet program. Over the following days, Richard allegedly followed her and asked for sex.
Richard resigned from the division in October 2019 after several women accused him of sexual harassment and misconduct. He worked for the city for 34 years.