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Sexual Suit Alleges County's Probation Chief Has History of Harassment

Complaints and allegations filed by female employees who worked with Chief Probation Officer are being investigated.

Bay City News — Alameda County Chief Probation Officer David Muhammad has a history of sexually harassing female employees, according to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court yesterday.

The suit, who alleges that Muhammad, 38, sexually harassed and assaulted her on several occasions in 2011, says that an employee who worked for him at the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington, D.C., has filed a claim accusing him of harassing her in 2009.

San Francisco attorney Kelly Armstrong, who represents the Alameda County employee, said today that, "It appears that the county's hiring procedures need to be scrutinized."

But Supervisor Keith Carson said Muhammad's background was thoroughly investigated by an outside recruiter and other outside experts when the county conducted a nationwide search for a new chief probation officer in late 2010.

Carson said, "There was no hint of any improprieties on a personal or professional level" during the search for a new person to head the Probation Department, which has a staff of 600 people and a $90 million budget.

Carson said county officials take the deputy probation officer's allegations against Muhammad "very seriously" but he also "would be deeply shocked if it comes out that they are true."

The county Board of Supervisors placed Muhammad, 38, on paid administrative leave on Feb. 14 after the employee filed a $1.5 million claim against him.

Armstrong said the lawsuit, which names both Muhammad and Alameda County as defendants, is seeking unspecified general, special and punitive damages on behalf of the deputy probation officer, alleging that she has suffered economic harm and has mental distress and anguish.

The Board of Supervisors hired Muhammad in December 2010 after he held top probation positions in New York City and Washington, D.C. He began his Alameda County job on Feb. 14, 2011.

The California Attorney General's Office is conducting an investigation to see if criminal charges should be filed against Muhammad and Carson said the county is conducting a separate investigation of him.

, a former division commander in the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, to serve as acting chief probation officer.

Armstrong said that in addition to the female employee in Washington who has filed a complaint against Muhammad, two other potential complaints by female employees who worked for him there are also being investigated.

A spokesperson for the Department of Youth Services in Washington, D.C., said today that Muhammad resigned from his post there on Sept. 10, 2010, but didn't disclose the reason for his resignation.

Armstrong said the officer is on medical leave due to the injuries she suffered when .

Carson said that when the Board of Supervisors interviewed Muhammad after his employee filed her claim against him "he admitted they had some kind of personal interaction at some point."

Carson said, "It appeared to have been consensual but it went past that point and that is a gray area."

In an interview before he began his Alameda County job, Muhammad said he got into trouble with the law while he was growing up in Oakland but he said he turned his life around with the help of the Omega Boys Club, which paid for him to go to college.

Ron March 29, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Wow! I go away for a few days and we have Summer Hemphill flying off the Race Cliff! I have to ask you again, SH, were you smoking a little something before you posted your 1:49 a.m. comment? Sorry, but your personal projections won't work. No racism involved and you should know better than to make these false claims. For rational/honest people to read your comments, it really doesn't help your liberal/no responsibility lifestyle/cause. I hope you learn one of these days that avoiding the facts (as we've seen you do so many times here) and throwing out false, ignorant, misleading and dishonest comments is another confirmtion of your socialist/liberal mentality. Background investigations are supposed to help confirm the best candidate (regardless of race) for a position. They are being used every day (not that you could pass one). We know that our governmental agencies don't always use the best judgment when spending our money and sometimes they ignore the facts to promote some "justice" topic. I am interested in learning what the facts are so that justice is served for all involved. My reference to President Obama only relates to what apparently wasn't done to vet a presidential candidate. McCain got vetted, why not Obama? Don't the same rules apply to all of us equally? The trick is to get everyone to follow the same rules. Too often many think they are "above" the rules! This reminds me of the liberal mindset: rules are only for the other guy.
RB April 09, 2012 at 04:29 PM
You are exactly right Gary!! great comment! what's more is that Muhammad did not even meet the MINIMUM qualifications for theCPO job but his buddy KEITH CARSON kept pushing him on!! There is absolutely no way the background investagators missed the sexual assaults but the Alameda BOS made a choice to ignore it!!! and now they are paying big time! it is so unfortunate for the victim! It is very difficult to be in her position; she is a very strong admirable women.
djohns April 27, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I had conversation with this man during his efforts to reform the AC Probation department. He is a man who has matured into a person who understands that young people do things that are wrong but they should not be thrown away. That people should be given a chance to better themselves and they can evolve into good people. His background gave him insight and understanding that other pious and one dimensional people do not have. I am discouraged that the need for reform that he so rightly identified is now lost. I hope the charges against him are found to be not true.
Gary Peterson April 27, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Obviously not. How can a person who has admitted that he actually tried to kill somebody be a Chief. How can a mature person not understand that having any sexual contact with a staff person is wrong. I know that it is hard to believe these days...but character does count and Muhammad does not have character...he has a character and a moral flaw.

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