While attorneys fought off allegations he'd sexually assaulted a colleague in his car last year, Multnomah County officials quietly reaffirmed their finding Leslie Taylor is a leader among his colleagues.
Officials in the county's Department of Community Justice renamed Taylor a "lead juvenile counselor," a position he'd held since 2007. The designation offers stepped up responsibility and a 6.8 percent pay bump, to $68,660.
Leads can stand in for managers, and train and create work schedules for staff, according to a description of the position [pdf] obtained by the Mercury. The job requires that a counselor exhibit "exceptional leadership skills" and the ability to work well with others, among other things.
That might seem at odds with what court documents, police reports and a hefty settlement check suggest about Taylor's work mien.
Earlier this month, the county's board of commissioners approved a $75,000 settlement with a former colleague of Taylor's—an employee for a youth services organization that works with troubled juveniles. In a lawsuit filed last year, the woman claimed Taylor repeatedly harassed her over the course of their working relationship—to the point she asked two other colleagues to intercede on her behalf.
And in July 2012, the woman says Taylor ran his hand up her dress while they were out to visit a mutual client. She reported the incident to police, but refused to participate in a "pretext call" in which she'd call Taylor and trick him into admitting what he'd done. Taylor denied the assault, saying the woman had placed his hand on her leg. Charges were never filed.
But Multnomah County took the allegations serious enough that it
suspended Taylor placed Taylor on administrative leave from November 2012 to April 2013. And a police report makes clear the woman isn't the first to co-worker complain about Taylor's conduct—he acknowledged as much to an officer.
"I asked Taylor if he is aware of other sexual harassment allegations against him at work and he said he was," Portland Officer David Hughes wrote in October 2012. "I asked Taylor why people would be making these serious charges up about him and he said he did not know."
Despite this, Taylor asked to be reappointed as a lead this summer, as his prior appointment expired. In a letter highlighting his qualifications, he touted an "ability to work effectively with my peers," and a "team-oriented approach."
"I will always show the professionalism that is needed to foster a positive attitude for others in the department, if given the opportunity to be a Lead," he wrote.
His new stint began in September.