According to an email from Tara Finnigan, public information officer for Newport Beach, allegations of sexual harassment against Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson have been removed from a lawsuit.
Finnigan’s email noted that “A lawsuit filed by former Newport Beach Police Department employee Christine Hougan alleged, among other things, that she was sexually harassed by Police Chief Jay Johnson. For approximately 18 months, the Chief and the City of Newport Beach have asserted that the allegations were unfounded. Today, Ms. Hougan’s attorney asked the Court to dismiss Chief Johnson, thus clearing the Chief of the allegations made against him.”
Finnigan’s email included the following comment from City Manager Dave Kiff.
“Today, Ms. Hougan’s attorney asked the Court to remove the sexual harassment component of the lawsuit. Doing so cleared Chief Jay Johnson of all allegations that were made against him.
Too often people make unscrupulous accusations against public officials, and too often the public assumes the worst, or at best is left wondering about the truth. It’s a sad commentary on our public discourse. The truth here is that the City and Chief Johnson have always contended that there was no merit to these harassment allegations. I knew so because of Chief Johnson’s ethics, integrity and character, but I also had an independent investigation done, as we would with any of our staff. That investigation determined that Ms. Hougan’s allegations against Chief Johnson also were unfounded.
I regret that Chief Johnson and his family have been put through this. It isn’t right. He deserves an apology – he may not get one from others, but I am personally sorry these accusations were made against an outstanding leader.”