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High Desert college ‘very concerned’ over student allegations of sexual harassment by top Adelanto officials

By in Press Enterprise on January 13, 2018

By Joe Nelson

Representatives at Victor Valley College in Victorville are speaking out about allegations by two students that they were sexually harassed by top Adelanto officials while interning at the city through the college’s CalWORKS program.

In separate claims filed with the city of Adelanto on Dec. 21 and Dec. 18, respectively, one student alleged Mayor Rich Kerr created an “uncomfortable, intimidating, and embarrassing” work environment for her by trying to obtain her personal mobile number and discussing her with other employees, calling her cute and saying she was his “kind of catch.”

Another intern alleged that City Manager Gabriel Elliott, after taking her to lunch once, repeatedly asked her out to lunch after that. Two other current or former employees have also accused Elliot of sexual harassment in separate claims.

Adelanto City Manager Gabriel Elliott denies allegations of sexual harassment by former employees. He says the allegations are made up, and that Mayor Rich Kerr may have had something to do with it.

Both Kerr and Elliott are under investigation by the city. Kerr has declined to comment pending the outcome of the investigation, and Elliot has denied all the allegations against him, insisting they are trumped up and that Kerr is behind it due to Elliott’s repeated complaints about illegal and unethical conduct by Kerr and other city council members.

“We are very much concerned regarding our CalWORKS work study students,” college spokesman Robert Sewell said in an email. “We have an obligation to be referring them to a safe worksite.”

Since 2015, the college has had seven of its students intern for the city of Adelanto. Some were subsequently hired for full-time employment, Sewell said, adding, “This is the first such reported incident of this nature, and we will be taking action to ensure our students are safely employed.”

Officials with the city of […]    

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