Kings County agreed to settle the sexual harassment filed by the former top DA investigator, Robert Waggle, in the District Attorney’s office, the Visalia-Hanford-Lemoore Future has learned.
Waggle’s suit against the county stems from alleged behavior by District Attorney Keith Fagundes involving Waggle who worked in the DA’s office starting in 2010, according to the suit.
Waggle was promoted to senior investigator in 2015.
No dollar amount of the settlement has been publicly released, but the suit said if the case went to trial, Waggle’s attorney’s fees alone could be $650,000 – $800,000.
Waggle’s attorney, Larry Lennemann of Los Angeles, said he could not discuss the case until Friday, November 18.
The county hired an outside attorney from Fresno to defend the case.
There was nothing in the Board of Supervisors’ agenda on November 8 to indicate that the settlement was discussed in closed session. Calls and messages to the board of supervisors went unanswered.
County Counsel Diane Freeman also did not respond to two state Records Requests from the Future seeking to confirm the settlement and details of the agreement.
The case was originally filed in Kings County Superior Court but later moved to San Bernardino County to avoid conflicts of interest.
The core of the suit alleges, that because of the harassment, Waggle was forced to take an early medical leave on March 24, 2021 and that being unable to pursue his career until the normal retirement age, he lost both pay and benefits.
The suit claimed Fagundes touched Waggle in a sexual manner, sent inappropriate sexually explicit text messages, blatantly stared at his crotch and compared the size of his penis to various objects.
The suit alleged that Fagundes, would retaliate against anyone who opposed him. And when Waggle did not respond favorably to Fagundes’ advances, Waggle was stripped of his responsibilities and accordingly, Waggle had a difficult time performing his job.
Fagundes has previously said that the text messages Waggle is referring to represent a reality that is different from what Waggle is describing.
Fagundes dismissed the texts as “crude guy banter” adding that if the claims were true “…why did he let it go for so long.”
Fagundes’ attorney said the timing of the suit, which was filed in July 2021, was aimed at Fagundes’ reelect ion campaign. Fagundes was running for his third four-year term for Dstrict Attorney for Kings County but was defeated by Sarah Hacker, a former deputy district attorney in his office.