Friday, July 11, 2008

Oakland to Pay Women $2M to Avoid Jury Trial

The City of Oakland is getting out its checkbook in order to pay some $2 million to finalize a lawsuit brought by 16 women who claimed a police officer groped or sexually harassed them when they were stopped on the road.

In their lawsuit, the women state that Richard Valerga, who is no longer with the department, stopped them in their cars back in 2004 and 2005, then proceeded to touch or sexually harass them.

Valerga, who ended up pleading no contest to misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment and violating the women's civil rights, resigned from the department three years ago. He received a six month sentence in county jail and was placed on probation.

The city's attorney reportedly wants the city to pay the settlement so it can avoid a jury trial.

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