Labor & Employment

Fired court worker says she saw judge have sex with bailiff; judge calls claim 'false and baseless'


A fired Florida court worker says she lost her job recently after walking in on a state-court judge having sex on a table in her chambers with a bailiff last year.

Alisha Rupp filed a discrimination complaint with the state this week and said in a subsequent news conference at her lawyer’s office that she had complained of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at the Polk County Courthouse to the chief judge, reports WFTS.

However, court officials said Rupp only complained after she was fired, due to time sheet discrepancies and misusing her position to threaten an animal control officer who had given her a citation. Meanwhile, Circuit Judge Susan Flood categorically denied the “false and baseless” allegations that she had sex with a bailiff, reports WTSP.

“I’m devastated, but I’m here at work doing my job. I don’t think there’s any disagreement in the courthouse about my commitment to my work,” Flood told the station. She declined to speculate what could have motivated Rupp, who formerly shared an office area with Flood while working for another judge, to make the claims against her.

Rupp also claims–falsely, the judge says–that Flood asked Rupp to pretend that she herself was having an affair with the bailiff. Rupp additionally contends that the bailiff made crude comments to her and threatened she would lose her job if she complained.

Rupp says the claimed time sheet issue was a pretext for firing her and she and her lawyer say she didn’t cooperate with an earlier court investigation because she didn’t expect to be treated fairly, according to the two articles.

“She was threatened if she told anyone that it would mean trouble for her. The bailiff actually threatened to tase her,” her lawyer, David J. Linesch, told reporters this week. “For this kind of misconduct to happen in [a] judicial circuit is so off the charts.”

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has suspended the bailiff accused by Rupp while an investigation proceeds concerning her allegations.

Although an internal investigation previously concluded that Rupp’s claims were baseless, Polk County Chief Judge Bruce Smith said she would be given “another opportunity to come in and speak, but I doubt she will.”

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