Sexual relationships involving supervisors and subordinates in the investigations bureau at the Orange County District Attorney’s office are so common, and generating so many complaints, that the workplace might be a hostile environment, the Orange County Grand Jury says in a report released Tuesday.
The report, “Another Hostile Work Environment: Orange County District Attorney Bureau of Investigation,” was launched after jurors heard complaints about unfair treatment, misconduct and retaliation among investigators. After talking with nearly 100 people, the grand jury “heard multiple admissions of sexual relationships and numerous complaints about preferential treatment and retaliation within the Bureau as a result of these relationships.”
Though the grand jury did not offer data to back up its charges or investigate specific complaints, the jurors concluded that “the sheer volume and pervasiveness of the perception of favoritism and retaliation based on sexual relationships is problematic as that perception alone can create a hostile work environment.”
The report comes as the District Attorney’s office faces charges of widespread misuse of jailhouse informants, complaints that are being investigated by the state Attorney General and the U.S. Dept. of Justice.
It also comes after signs of rising tension within the investigation unit at the DA’s office, a group that includes about 250 people, including 182 sworn police officers.
Last month, two investigators – Tom Conklin and Abraham Santos – filed whistle blower claims alleging District Attorney Tony Rackauckas covered up criminal conduct by police and used his office to help political supporters and retaliate against those who voice opposition. Those complaints followed an earlier complaint filed by Craig Hunter, the former top investigator for the District Attorney’s Office who accused Rackauckas of interfering with cases involving his friends. The reports also included allegations…