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Idaho State Settles Sex-Harassment Suit for $170,000

A former employee of Idaho State University who said she had been sexually harassed by her boss and then punished by the institution for complaining has settled her lawsuit for $170,000, the Idaho State Journal reports.

Kelly Pokorny, who worked as an education coordinator at the university’s Museum of Natural History, alleged that Herb Machner, the museum’s director, followed her into her office in 2013 and forcibly kissed her and grabbed her buttocks. She filed a complaint and was placed on administrative leave while the university’s human-resources department and its Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Diversity investigated her claim.

After it was determined that she was telling the truth, she was reassigned to a job with no specific tasks to accomplish and placed in a basement office with no computer or telephone, the newspaper reports. “It was a storage room,” Ms. Pokorny said.

She quit in 2014 and sued the university for violations of the Idaho Human Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mr. Maschner, who left in 2015 for a job as executive director of the Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies at the University of South Florida, was stripped of his title after that institution learned he’d been reprimanded at Idaho State. He is still an instructor at South Florida, the newspaper reports.

Idaho State, which lost an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court to have Ms. Pokorny’s lawsuit dismissed, agreed to settle in December after a trial was scheduled.

A university official said the institution’s legal costs in its defense of the lawsuit were covered by the state’s risk-management program.

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