Ex-official at college files suit to return
By Chris Moran
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 31, 2009
CHULA VISTA — A Southwestern College administrator who resigned last year amid allegations of sexual harassment has filed a lawsuit against the college to get his job back.
Arthur Lopez resigned in June as director of financial aid.
A student services assistant claimed in a complaint to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing that she had sex with Lopez to keep her job. Martha Jimenez alleges that Lopez would tell her during their sexual encounters to remember who got her the job and that she soon faced a performance evaluation.
Jimenez filed a lawsuit against the college, Lopez and two other administrators last summer.
Lopez's attorney said at the time that the allegations were false.
Lopez, who filed his lawsuit last month, seeks to be reinstated to his job, with its annual salary of $118,704. He also seeks an unspecified amount for damages.
The most recent lawsuit paints a different picture of the relationship between Lopez and Jimenez. It describes their eight-month relationship as consensual.
In 2007, a year and a half after the relationship ended, the college launched two investigations – one to determine whether Jimenez had received favorable treatment as a result of the relationship, and another to determine whether she had been sexually harassed.
Both investigations cleared Lopez, according to his lawsuit. The college would not comment on the suit.
Last April, college President Raj Chopra sent Lopez a letter informing him that he was being placed on administrative leave and being recommended for termination, according to the suit. The letter was sent a week after the college's governing board renewed Lopez's contract for the 2008-09 academic year.