Bay City News—Alameda County Chief Probation Officer David Muhammad announced his resignation Wednesday even though an internal investigation found no evidence to support an employee's allegation that he sexually assaulted and harassed her.
County Supervisor Keith Carson said Muhammad's resignation is effective Aug. 3 and that the county will pay him the equivalent of three months' salary.
The Board of Supervisors placed Muhammad, 38, on paid administrative leave Feb. 14 after a deputy probation officer filed a $1.5 million claim accusing him of sexually assaulting and harassing her on several occasions in 2011.
The employee, who is 30, filed a lawsuit against Muhammad on March 20 after the county rejected her claim. Her suit is still pending.
Separately, the California Attorney General's Office is conducting an investigation to see if criminal charges should be filed against Muhammad.
The county's internal investigation of Muhammad was conducted by an outside independent investigator hired by the County Counsel's Office, Carson said.
The county and Muhammad agreed that it would be too distracting for him to return to the Probation Department because the department was already deeply divided, Carson said.
"He inherited a pretty volatile situation to begin with because there have been a series of chiefs in recent years and it's always a very challenging environment in which to operate," Carson said.
Muhammad "had a lot that he wanted to accomplish there and he wanted to make major changes" but he ran into resistance from employees who wanted to do things their own way, Carson said. He said Muhammad "will be sorely missed because he was trying to put a lot of good practices and programs in place."
The Board of Supervisors hired Muhammad in December 2010 after he held probation positions in New York City and Washington, D.C. He began his Alameda County job on Feb. 14, 2011, exactly a year before he was placed on leave.
On March 16, the Board of Supervisors appointed LaDonna Harris, a former division commander in the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, to serve as acting chief probation officer.
Carson said the board hasn't decided about keeping Harris as acting chief or beginning a search for a new permanent chief.
The deputy probation officer's suit against Muhammad is seeking unspecified general, special and punitive damages, alleging that she has suffered economic harm and has mental distress and anguish. According to the employee's lawyer, the deputy probation officer is on unpaid leave due to the injuries she suffered when Muhammad allegedly sexually assaulted her.
Alameda County officials said that because the internal investigation found no wrongdoing by Muhammad, the county will continue to represent him in the civil suit against him.
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