A Redlands woman whose sexual harassment complaint against San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos triggered an investigation is seeking $1.5 million in a claim filed Wednesday.
Cheryl Ristow, an investigative technician with the district attorney’s office, states that she was involved in a 17-month intimate relationship with Ramos that ended in 2005. She claims that she was retaliated against starting in May when it appeared that the affair would be publicly revealed, and has been on stress leave since July as a result.
Ramos issued a brief statement Thursday denying the allegations.
“I continue to vigorously deny these false and politically-motivated accusations and look forward to the truth coming out in a court of law,” he said.
In a phone interview Thursday, Ristow said, “I stand behind my story 100 percent.”
The county began an internal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation in August when an employee in the office came forward with a complaint against Ramos. Ristow’s claim identifies herself as the person who came forward with the complaint.
Ristow said in the claim that she and Ramos continued a distant working relationship when the personal relationship ended. That changed in May, she said, when Ramos told her that news of the affair was going to appear in a newspaper article that accused him of multiple affairs.
A month later, Ristow said, she received disciplinary write-ups for “things in the past that were trivial” by a supervisor whom she had asked for advice on the situation.
Ristow also states that around June or July, a senior investigator for the district attorney told her that if she came forward, she would “tank” the office’s case against former Assistant Assessor Jim Erwin.
Erwin is among five former assessor’s officials, including ex-Assessor Bill Postmus, who are facing criminal charges as part of the district attorney’s office’s political corruption probe.
In past statements, Ramos has claimed that the allegations against him are part of an effort to derail that investigation.
“I have no political motivation whatsoever,” Ristow responded in the Thursday interview.
In her claim, she accused Ramos of slander and defamation and said she has suffered physical and emotional trauma as a result of her treatment.
The county has 45 days to review the claim. If it is rejected, Ristow can sue.
Reach Imran Ghori at 951-368-9558 or ighori@PE.com
Filed under: Civil Liberties, Drugs, Information, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, Privacy, San Bernardino County, SB Assesssor, SB DA Tagged: | Bill Postmus, Cheryl Ristow, Jim Erwin, Michael Ramos, San Bernardino County, San Bernardino County District Attorney, women