Kings County DA facing sexual harassment allegations

Keith Fagundes, the Kings County District Attorney, is facing claims of sexual harassment lodged against him by one of his staff members.

Robert Waggle, the chief investigator at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, lodged an official claim on July 6 that included a laundry list of sexual harassment allegations.

Kings County has 45 days to respond to the claim.

Beginning and end of a friendship

Fagundes and Waggle knew each other from 2008 while working on homicides and crime cases –  Fagundes for the Kings County DA’s office and Waggle for the Kings County Sheriff’s office.

In 2010, Waggle started working for the DA’s office and the two became close friends.

Waggle moved into an apartment next to his pool in November 2017 after losing his house in a divorce, according to Fagundes.

Fagundes claims that when Waggle asked him what the rent would cost, he responded by asking Waggle what he could afford. Waggle said he could not afford to pay any rent at all, Fagundes claims.

In Waggle’s filing, he claims that he moved into the apartment in 2018, and repeatedly offered to pay rent, but that Fagundes refused to take any money — saying that Waggle “just being here is enough for [him].”

Waggle’s claim outlines “some examples (of many) of Fagundes extended pattern and practice of improper and unlawful sexual harassment.”

He describes being repeatedly touched in a sexual manner, inappropriate text messages and sexually explicit conversations with Fagundes.

The alleged harassment led Waggle to suffer from severe anxiety, panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to his filing.

The claim opens the possibility of a lawsuit that could demand over $1m in damages, with Waggle’s attorneys citing the fact that Waggle would receive a substantially discounted retirement “because he was forced to retire at a young age,” his PTSD, and the potential for legal bills that could reach $800,000.

According to the claim Waggle is “currently in the process of being medically retired.”

Waggle’s complaint is embedded below; reader discretion is advised due to the explicit and vulgar language of the alleged conversations and text messages.

Fagundes says he’s open to an investigation

“I have all my texts, too, and they depict a whole different reality that what Robert is describing,” Fagundes told the Valley Voice.

He said the texts Waggle describes as harassment were just “crude guy banter.”

Waggle initiated most of the texts or encouraged and affirmed them with his responses, Fagundes added.

“If his claims are true, why did he let it go on for so long and cause him so much emotional distress to the point of PTSD?,” Fagundes asked. “If I thought for a minute that I offended him I never would have sent him texts or would have stopped.”

Fagundes is being represented by Marguerite Melo of the Law offices of Melo and Sarsfield.

Melo says that the timing of the claim was clearly meant to coincide with Fagundes’ announcement that he would seek re-election in 2022. Fagundes ran for his position in 2014 and 2018 and won with over 70% of the vote both times.

The timing also coincides with the Kings County Board of Supervisors’ announcement of a $500,000 settlement with former County Counsel Lee Burdick.

According to Melo, the county will be left to decide whether it is cheaper to settle or fight a potential lawsuit from Waggle — Melo says he is likely hoping for a quick and substantial settlement similar to Burdick’s.

“His lawyers have put together this fiction in order to get money out of the county, which is taxpayer money,” said Melo.

One of the witnesses listed on the claim agreed to talk to the Voice on the condition of anonymity.

He said that he wasn’t sure why he was listed as a witness — and was shocked to hear about the case.

He struggles personally with the allegations because he likes both men, the witness said.

The named witness said he enjoyed his time at the KCDA office, that Waggle was a good friend, and that he excelled as a chief investigator, but also said that Fagundes was a “stand up guy,” and a “great boss.”

He said that he’d spent a lot of time with Fagundes, that he had a good marriage and was loyal to his wife.

“I never got the vibe that he was a gay predator,” the man said.

Melo says her client is an open book and has already agreed to fully cooperate if the county conducts an investigation.

“He is eager to clear his name and is committed to transparency,” she said.

“I’m a politician,” said Fagundes, “and I take shots all of the time. But this one is over the top.”

 

18 thoughts on “Kings County DA facing sexual harassment allegations

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  1. Mostly everything Keith Fagundes claims sounds suspicious. The proof is in the text. Hard to dispute those

    • The victim had a lot of options here.. He could have saved money while living for free and oh, I don’t know….stop mooching and get a place. He could have paid rent anyway like a decent human being. Oh yeah, he could have blocked calls and texts. Mooches gonna mooch

      • More often than not illicit relationships often end up costing more than it was worth mentally, physically and financially and these two men are prime examples of just that. The real victims are the children in both families who now have to live with their fathers’ dirty linen being aired publicly. Save your pity for them.

  2. I believe the victim. Who has 5,000 texts from D.A. Fagundes. Also having worked with both men. I believe Robert Waggle the victim over D.A. Fagundes. I have known D.A. Fagundes to be power hungry and vindictive in the past.

  3. He was “harassed” and continued to work there? Sounds like a disgruntled employee looking for a payout. What cop gets PTSD and panic disorder from text messages?

    • Exactly, your spot on! And why wait 3 years to suddenly file a claim? The very first time this happened I would have said “knock it off.” The second time I would have reported it. 3 years and 5000 texts later, ya right and it will be interesting of those 5000 texts how Waggle responded back.

    • He wasn’t a cop. Actual cops just shoot unarmed citizens and assault them that’s why they don’t get PTSD

  4. This is a two fold action: 1) Alleged Victim trying to get money.
    2) Someone with the help of Victim trying to sway an upcoming election. This sounds shady. The truth will prevail as long as the County keeps there check book closed. Fagundes is a good guy. This is a cheap shot at Fagundes and his family. This is how Fagundes is treated for being a nice guy. Fagundes has our support, and any help he needs.

    • Sounds like someone looking for a quick million. Lost his house in a divorce, can’t afford to pay rent? This all equals BIG payday but sadly the county will fold as always!

      • He can afford rent. He had a good job. That was a claim by Fagundes. Fagundes is the one that refused payment. Suspicious. He wanted that booty.

  5. Unfortunately in Kings County elections it’s who you know and how much money your family has not what you know or how you conduct yourself morally. “Good old boy network”

  6. I can’t wait to read how that big bad police officer was a “victim” of mean text messages. How it left him broken and shaken, so much so that he has PTSD, a disorder that soldiers who lose limbs in combat suffer. What a bunch of LA lawyer BS. You know, if the “victim” is that mentally unstable, someone needs to do a “red flag” gun seizure on him.

  7. The county should have to publish this when they recruit people. Employees shouldn’t have to deal with stuff like this.

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