- Investigation Sustains Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Arcata City Councilmember Brett Watson; Former Mayor Was ‘Obsessed’ With Staff Member, Report Finds
- Arcata City Council to Consider Disciplinary Action, Including Possible Restraining Order, Against Councilmember Brett Watson in Response to Sexual Harassment Investigation
Press release from Arcata City Councilmember Brett Watson:
On May 17th at 6pm at Arcata City Hall there will be a meeting to discuss the false allegations against me.
The allegations against me are from a time in my life when I was recovering from a personal tragedy. That, in addition to some ongoing personal challenges, contributed to the present circumstances.
It should be clear that at no time did I sexually proposition anyone. Also at no time did any staff advise me that any interactions were unwelcome. The investigation and findings seem to be a political play meant to take advantage of my tragedy for the power of a select few.
For anyone who cross references the 29 page report summary against me with the provided texts and emails within the 600 page report, it will be clear that much of the report comes to false and biased conclusions.
There is no evidence that I ever expected anything from the staff member at issue. In the report produced by the City’s own investigator, there is an abundance of evidence showing she enjoyed spending time with me, she looked forward to it, and she encouraged it. She baked me cookies, offered me food she brought from home, sent me pictures of her vacations, and she sent me many unsolicited texts and emails after work hours and on the weekends. Our relationship was 100% consensual. The 600-page report is filled with this evidence and it was completely ignored by the investigator, showing the investigator’s clear bias against me.
The Arcata taxpayers paid for this report and own it so I implore you to take the time to read the entire report to make your own determination, as there is an abundant amount of evidence that the investigation was poorly done and conducted by an investigator looking to justify a negative conclusion against me. If you don’t have the time to read all 600 pages, open the report to any of the texts and emails and start reading.
I was never notified by any legal document approved by the City Council to change any of my behaviors, and I don’t take direction from attorneys who have demonstrated clear biases against me. All of these actions are merely a charade to appear as if the City has acted responsibly rather than predetermined my guilt. It’s customary for an attorney like Tom O’Connell to advise the Council not to say they believe any of the allegations to be true because it would expose the City to lawsuits. Typically, a council would be advised to make statements such as, “…if the allegations are true…” without saying they actually believe them to be true. If the City Council can’t look the public in the eye and say they believe these allegations to be true, then it makes no logical sense for them to consider any form of limitations on my actions or behaviors. There is not one shred of evidence showing I’m a danger to the Staff or anyone for that matter.
The City continues to this day to violate its own harassment and discrimination policy. In late January of this year, I made a formal complaint of harassment and discrimination by the city attorney, the personnel director, and the city manager. My complaints were ignored for months. I haven’t received a letter acknowledging the complaints per the City’s harassment and discrimination policy and there is only now talk of an investigation four months after I made complaints, and after the investigation into me has concluded (assuring my complaints are downplayed). Again, this is in violation of the City’s own harassment and discrimination policy.
These same people who have been harassing and discriminating against me were also allowed to be witnesses against me in the report and had regular communication with the investigator, influencing the investigation. This makes no sense at all as they have clear conflicts of interest and have shown strong biases against me.
I encourage the community to attend the City Council meeting on May 17th at 6pm at Arcata City Hall, join via Zoom, or watch it on channel 10. It’s time the community gets a true and clear understanding of the false allegations against me and the abundance of evidence that demonstrates I’ve never harassed or have ever been a danger to anyone.