KVRR News, Fargo, ND.
KVRR News, Fargo, ND.
KVRR on Twitter KVRR on Facebook
Click Here for Weather Alerts

Cass Co. Judge Accused of Sexual Harassment



Bookmark and Share

A Cass County District Judge lands himself in the middle of a sexual harassment investigation.

 

Judge Wickham Corwin is accused of creating an uncomfortable work environment for a female court employee, lasting for nearly a year.

 

The allegations unfolded after Corwin expressed negative issues regarding the victim's performance during a biennial performance review.


The North Dakota Supreme Court Administrator's Office spent nearly two months looking into the relationship between Corwin and one of the court employees.

 

According to the investigators' final report, Corwin's actions between July of 2010 and June of 2011 caused the victim to "dread coming to work and created a fear that she would lose her job" after "she turned down his request for an affair."

 

Documents say Corwin and the employee originally had a friendly relationship, but after a few lunches together, group happy hour outings, and a bike ride, Corwin invited the victim into his home, where he "indicated that he was attracted to her and wanted a more personal relationship." The victim "expressed reservations. They kissed and then he took her home."

 

This is when the alleged sexual harassment began.

 

Investigators say Corwin contacted the victim several times regarding their relationship.

 

Corwin told them, "He didn't like the awkwardness between them and tried to talk to her about it [...] He wanted their relationship to return to what it had been before the incident at his home."

 

He attempted to talk with her and invited her to lunch frequently. He would get angry when she refused, once sending her an expletive email saying, “Stop being so f***ing difficult."

 

To which she responded, "You told me to 'Stop being so f'g difficult.' I'm not being difficult. I'm trying to nicely tell you to back off. Please stop trying to 'plan' things to get me alone."

In another conversation he threatened her job saying, "If this was a private law practice, he would have taken care of the problem by now."

 

But the victim emailed him saying, "I avoid you because you won't stop trying to have ‘conversations’ with me about something that I dearly have told you more than once to just leave alone. We are COWORKERS. Start acting like it! [...] There is no 'problem,' other than that I didn't go along with your advances so now you are trying to make up problems to try and get rid of me."

 

The victim kept a written account with dates of all of their unusual encounters, saying at times, "I was scared, wanted to run."

 

She told investigators "She felt very uncomfortable in Judge Corwin's office and physically felt sick. That at one time she had to run to a bathroom to calm herself during a trial because she was having a panic attack because she felt so uncomfortable around him."

 

After speaking with both parties, and other employees and judges at the courthouse, investigators concluded that, "While Judge Corwin did not intend to threaten [the victim] or to make her work environment uncomfortable, his actions had that effect." And that his "repeated conversations and suggestions continued despite her explicit instruction to him to stop."

 

Judge Corwin and the victim have since been separated from working with each other, and plans have been made to move his chamber away from her office once courthouse construction is complete.

 

The victim does have the right to issue a civil complaint through the court if she desires.

 

The Supreme Court Administrators Office says they legally could not charge Corwin, as he is an elected official and not an employee.

 

The Cass County State's Attorney's Office says it has not received a criminal complaint on the matter.

 

Phone calls to Corwin were not returned.

 

     

Pro-Life Supporters Gather For Hope

An annual Good Friday gathering in front of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo takes on ...

XL Pipeline Decision Delayed

The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the ...

Bigger Scope in Crop Insurance Fraud Case

Two brothers from Cooperstown, North Dakota accused of destroying potatoes to ...

Bond Set for Man Accused in Attempted Kidnapping  Apr. 18

Support for Former Spartan with Brain Cancer  Apr. 18

Fargo-based "Sunbutter" Releases New Spread  Apr. 18

HoDo Wins Four Diamond Award  Apr. 18

Pizza Ranch to Open in Valley City  Apr. 18

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza  Apr. 18

Beltrami Mall Total Loss After Blaze  Apr. 18

MN Kidnapping Suspect Arrested in Los Angeles  Apr. 18

Gambling Addiction Website Available for North Dakotans  Apr. 18

Former Suspect Wants an Apology  Apr. 18

Boy Accused of Shooting Williston Teen  Apr. 18

BRRP Owner Calls New Permit a Mixed Blessing  Apr. 18

Ford Mustang Celebrates 50 Years  Apr. 17

New Hotel, Conference Center to Open Soon   Apr. 17

New Tourism Campaign Released  Apr. 17

Marijuana Prevention Debate Held in Moorhead  Apr. 17

More Busted in Distracted Driving Enforcement  Apr. 17

Student Accused of Making Bomb Threat   Apr. 17

Bail Set for Suspect in Deputy Shooting  Apr. 17

Charges Planned in Attack on Heitkamp Staffer  Apr. 17

Hankinson Sex Offender Ordinance Given Initial Approval  Apr. 17

Legal Troubles End for Man Accused of Passing HIV to Others  Apr. 17

Teen Admits to Hosting Party that Led to Athlete's Death  Apr. 17

Minnesota Adds 2,600 New Jobs  Apr. 17

Bakken Growth Impacting Montana  Apr. 17

KVRR News Archive
     

New Hotel, Conference Center to Open Soon

West Fargo's newest hotel and convention center opens ...

Bail Set for Suspect in Deputy Shooting

Bail is set at $1. 5 million for a ...

Legal Troubles End for Man Accused of Passing HIV to Others

The legal troubles for a Minneapolis man ...

Teen Admits to Hosting Party that Led to Athlete's Death  Apr. 17

Bakken Growth Impacting Montana  Apr. 17

Hankinson Sex Offender Ordinance Given Initial Approval  Apr. 17

Student Accused of Making Bomb Threat   Apr. 17

Charges Planned in Attack on Heitkamp Staffer  Apr. 17

KVRR News Archive