KVRR News, Fargo, ND.
KVRR News, Fargo, ND.
KVRR on Twitter KVRR on Facebook

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.

 

     

My Place Extended Stay Hotel Opens in Fargo

A new hotel opens its doors in Fargo.  My Place Economy Extended Stay is ...

Six Officers Join Fargo Police Department

Fargo Police Department is beefing up its staff. Six new officers joined the force ...

Arrest Made in BNSF Vehicle Theft

An arrest in the theft of new vehicles from a BNSF storage lot in Dilworth. ...

Alabama Man In High-Speed Chase Pleads Not Guilty  Oct. 20

Cramer Speaks To Local Senior Group  Oct. 20

Celebrating Farm to School Month  story with video  Oct. 20

Lifestyle Store Opens In Grand Forks  Oct. 20

Researchers in GF Help Fight Ebola  Oct. 20

Canned Goods Exchanged for Green Fees  Oct. 20

Levee Construction Faces Hurdle  Oct. 20

Women's Way Pays For Screenings  story with video  Oct. 20

Amy Senser Finished Work Release  Oct. 20

Brian Fitch Pleads Not Guilty  Oct. 20

Early Voting Begins in North Dakota  Oct. 20

Student Fee Increase Approved   Oct. 20

Sexual Violence Shelter Advocate on Campus  Oct. 20

DL Man Hurt After Train-Vehicle Collision  Oct. 19

Becker County Fugitive Arrested After Being Found On Stranger's Couch  Oct. 19

South Fargo Apartment Unit A Total Loss After Fire  Oct. 19

Fargo YMCA Baby Open Swim  story with video  Oct. 19

KVRR News Archive
     

Researchers in GF Help Fight Ebola

 A cure for Ebola could be right in our back yard?A Grand Forks ...

Arrest Made in BNSF Vehicle Theft

An arrest in the theft of new vehicles from a BNSF storage lot in Dilworth. ...

Celebrating Farm to School Month  story with video

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is recognizing national Farm to School ...

Women's Way Pays For Screenings  story with video  Oct. 20

Early Voting Begins in North Dakota  Oct. 20

Six Officers Join Fargo Police Department  Oct. 20

Lifestyle Store Opens In Grand Forks  Oct. 20

Amy Senser Finished Work Release  Oct. 20

KVRR News Archive