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Prince George’s to pay $475K to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

Prince George’s County has agreed to pay $475,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former county health department employee against her supervisor.

Oreadea Treadwell alleged she was subjected to a “highly charged, unwelcome, sexually hostile and offensive working environment” by Christopher Oladipo.

Chief Judge Deborah K. Chasanow dismissed the case in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Monday, according to court records.

“The county decided to settle the matter to avoid the further expense and uncertainty of the litigation,” said Scott L. Peterson, press secretary for County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, in an email.

The court filing did not include details of the settlement, and Treadwell’s attorney said he could not disclose it. Peterson revealed the amount in his email at the request of The Daily Record.

Treadwell’s lawsuit, filed in January 2013, also alleges the Nigerian-born Oladipo “forced nurses from Nigeria and other African countries to pay money as de facto bribes for him to hire them and, after he hired them, he would force them to meet him at a specific hotel to have sex with him.”

Treadwell previously filed a complaint with the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, which in April 2012 “found sufficient evidence” to support Treadwell’s allegations against Oladipo, according to the complaint. The HRC also talked to other employees who “attested to Oladipo’s disparate and demeaning treatment of women,” according to the complaint.

Ted J. Williams, Treadwell’s lawyer, said Wednesday that while his client was pleased with the settlement, they still intend to ask the state and county prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against Oladipo.

“I feel that it would be an inappropriate signal to all of the women who made sex harassment allegations against Mr. Oladipo for my client to take the money and not pursue the allegations,” said Williams, a solo practitioner at the Ted J. Williams Law Offices in Washington, D.C.

Williams added his client “would have never entered an agreement” that did not allow her to pursue criminal charges against Oladipo. Peterson said the settlement does not include any administrative action against Oladipo.

Oladipo, the father of NBA player Victor Oladipo, remains a county government employee, Peterson said.

Williams has said Treadwell’s contract with the county was terminated soon after she filed her lawsuit. Peterson previously confirmed she no longer worked for the government but has said she was let go “for reasons unrelated to the lawsuit.”

Redacted ruling

Also filed Monday in the case was a redacted ruling from Chasanow on a protective order the county sought in April. Chasanow filed her opinion June 13 but gave lawyers on both sides time to request any redactions.

As the basis for the protective order, the county’s cited a February agreement the parties had reached regarding information shared during the litigation. Under the terms of the February agreement, any confidential personnel information produced by the county during discovery or revealed during depositions could not be disclosed.

According to court records, Williams intended to hold a press conference at which he planned to call for a criminal investigation of Oladipo based on allegations by several other women. At the time, Williams denied learning of the allegations through discovery or confidential personnel information, but said he would postpone the press conference.

In her ruling, Chasanow said Williams could disclose information from the deposition of another woman who accused Oladipo of sexual harassment and extortion, as well as information from a third woman that was redacted.

“While publicly revealing rumors and hypotheticals might not be wise, one’s right to speak is not governed by the standards of wisdom,” Chasanow wrote.

However, Chasanow ruled Williams could not disclose testimony of a former county investigator who looked into allegations against Oladipo because the information was not part of the complaint.

The case is Treadwell v. Prince George’s County et al., 8:13-cv-00063-DKC.

TREADWELL V. PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, ET AL.

Court:

U.S. District Court in Greenbelt

Case No.:

8:13-cv-00063-DKC

Judge:

Deborah K. Chasanow

Outcome:

Settlement of $475,000 for plaintiff

Dates:

Incidents: January 2009 to October 2010

Suit filed: Jan. 7, 2013

Suit dismissed: July 14, 2014

Plaintiff’s Attorney:

Ted J. Williams, Washington, D.C. solo practitioner

Defendants’ Attorneys:

Tonia Yvetta Belton Gofree and Erin Nicole McCoy, Prince George’s County Office of Law

Count:

Sex discrimination, retaliation, violation of equal protection