Idaho State Controller's Office settles sexual harassment tort claim

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho State Controller's Office has agreed to settle with a former employee who said she was sexually and racially harassed by a supervisor while State Controller Brandon Woolf allowed the harassment to continue.

Former employee Lourdes Matsumoto's attorney announced Thursday the settlement includes a cash payment, as well as agreeing not to rehire Woolf's Chief of Staff Dan Goicoechea.

The original seven-page tort claim -- filed in September -- claimed Goicoechea engaged in abusive language and violent acts in conversations involving Matsumoto and other individuals.

Goicoechea resigned from the Controller's office earlier this year to become deputy for governmental affairs for the Idaho State Department of Education. He then resigned the day the tort claim was filed.

 The Controller's office issued this statement:

“As a leader, the responsibility to set the tone for our team and environment ultimately rests with me. I believe everyone must be treated with respect and valued for their hard work, and any form of workplace harassment or behavior that makes anyone uncomfortable is not acceptable,” said Controller Brandon Woolf. “We recognize that strong policies and procedures are not enough; everyone must also feel safe and empowered to bring concerns forward. Like all workplaces across our nation right now, we are looking at what we can do to be better. Our office is embracing the opportunity to improve our trainings, our communication with our employees, and in holding people accountable for their actions. We acknowledge that this has been difficult for everyone involved, and it is our hope that a settlement allows all parties to move forward.”

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