Regent Denies Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment
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University Regent Jack Schofield has broken his silence on sexual harassment claims made against him, contending they are a result of his vote to demote a college official.

A one-page statement issued through his attorney said the two women mentioned in the sexual harassment complaint have ties to John Cummings, the former chief lobbyist for the Community College of Southern Nevada who was demoted in November on a split vote of the Board of Regents.

"Regent Schofield is convinced that these sexual harassment allegations are politically motivated and would never have happened had he not voted to demote John Cummings," the statement said.

The release issued on Friday by attorney Dennis Leavitt indicates the woman who filed the complaint and another mentioned in the complaint who was identified as being outraged by a comment by Schofield, are closely connected to Cummings.

Schofield said in the statement that the harassment complaint was not filed until well after he voted to demote Cummings and move forward with proceedings that could result in the loss of Cummings' position at the college.

It said one is Cummings' "fiercely loyal secretary" and the other is his girlfriend's sister, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Sunday.

Schofield had refused to comment on the allegations in two previous contacts by the paper.

Cummings said that what upset him most about the statement is that it does not identify the the woman who made the complaint by name but by her position at the college.

"I find it quite disconcerting that he takes sexual harassment so lightly he can violate both law and (university system) policy by revealing the identity of a particular woman," he said.

"What's happened here is that Schofield has compromised a particular woman and been abetted in doing that by the system," Cummings said. "This will have a chilling effect on every woman who fears a regent who abuses his power on any campus in this state."

Cummings also said he first forwarded the concerns of the employee about Schofield to college officials in October, before his demotion.

"I have no involvement except to report the concerns to the system in October when they were reported to me," he said.

Efforts to reach the woman who filed the complaint were not successful.

Schofield, 80, voted to demote Cummings and then-college President Ron Remington after a lengthy closed session about problems at the college.

The written harassment complaint was filed Jan. 14 and initially sent to the university system Human Resources Department. The woman filing the complaint has not been named publicly. The incidents are alleged to have occurred from August 2003 to January 2004.

In the complaint, the employee talks about inappropriate comments and touching by Schofield.

A copy of the complaint with the woman's name removed was obtained by the Review-Journal.

The day the story ran, Chancellor Jane Nichols said the investigation into the allegations had been completed and that the system had "taken all appropriate actions." Nichols said she could not legally disclose what those actions were.

But Leavitt said on Friday that Schofield himself has not been informed of the results of the investigation.

Leavitt said he has requested a copy of the investigation so Schofield can review it for himself.