City out of sexual harassment lawsuit; Graziano not

David Hathcock
David Hathcock

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A judge this afternoon threw out a $500,000 sexual harassment lawsuit against the City of Richmond but he moved the case forward against city council president Kathy Graziano.

Jennifer Walle is the former aide to councilman Bruce Tyler.  She's suing Graziano and her aide, David Hathcock. She accuses Hathcock of sexual battery and Graziano of covering up the alleged incident and trying to force her to quit.

A judge threw out the case against the City of Richmond, agreeing that it is protected from lawsuits like this because it's a governmental agency.

He also dropped part of the suit against Hathcock, only a battery charge still stands. The suit, however will continue against the leader of the city council, Graziano.

Walle alleges in April of 2010, Hathcock came into her office at City Hall and harmfully and offensively touched her on the bottom after pulling her onto a chair. Walle says Hathcock tried to kiss her and when she reported her allegations to Graziano, she was told either quit or deal with it.

Hathcock has repeatedly denied the allegations. Graziano also denies the statement.

Walle alleges Graziano inflected intentional emotional distress by "forcing Ms. Walle to work with Mr. Hathcock, after she just complained that he sexually assaulted her in the same office," said Walle's attorney, Hayden Fisher.

Walle's attorney alleged in court that Graziano was spreading rumors about Walle and Bruce Tyler and forcing her to work with Hathcock in hopes she would quit.

The judge said he wants to hear more details on the claims against Graziano.  A hearing date will be set later this week.

Hathcock recently took a deal from prosecutors and agreed to perform 100 hours of community service in exchange for his criminal charges being dropped.

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