BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The county has settled three lawsuits for a total of $290,000 brought by women alleging a former deputy touched them against their will and made repeated unwanted sexual advances, in one case reportedly groping a woman whom he had arrested.
The county agreed to pay $120,000 to her and $100,000 and $70,000, respectively, to two employees of a Fastrip Michael Clark frequented, plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Rodriguez said.
Deputy County Counsel Kathleen Rivera said the settlements were entered to avoid further litigation, and the plaintiffs agreed the county was not admitting liability.
The Fastrip employees said Clark wrote inappropriate and sexually suggestive remarks on paper, including receipts, continuing to do so even after they asked him to stop.
One of the employees said Clark grabbed her buttocks without her consent and made sexually suggestive comments, according to the suits. The other said she took a nap during a graveyard shift on the floor behind the checkout counter and woke to find Clark lying next to her.
During each alleged incident, Clark was in uniform and driving his patrol vehicle, according to the suits.
Clark is facing multiple criminal charges including sexual battery and assault by a public officer and has a preliminary hearing scheduled mid-July.
Clark, 31 at the time, was arrested in October 2019 when a woman came forward to report he forced himself on her, kissing and groping her, after offering her a ride home in his patrol vehicle.
After the incident, Clark kept showing up at her workplace, the woman told investigators. She hid in the break room until he left.
In a pretext conversation set up by investigators, Clark admitted touching the woman against her will, court documents say.