California Appellate Court Justice Conrad Rushing retired this week amid allegations of sexual harassment from lawyers and other staff who worked for the court.
The 80-year-old Rushing presided over the Sixth District Court of Appeal for 15 years. Before that, he was a Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County.
In a confidential summary, commissioned by the court last May and obtained by KQED, investigators found that Rushing made inappropriate sexual comments about female employees' appearance, attire and bodies.
Male colleagues reported that Rushing's office was quote “dysfunctional” due to the justice’s conduct. One former attorney in Rushing's office reported feeling remorseful that he did not speak up sooner.
Several former and current employees of the court shared stories with KQED, but asked not to be named, for fear Justice Rushing might use his power and influence to ruin their careers.
One source, who worked in Rushing's office for 11 years, tells KQED News that he witnessed Rushing making conversation of a sexual nature with female colleagues.
"A big part of me feels the community does not have the full picture of Justice Rushing. He has been allowed to retire under a false luster," says the now-retired attorney.
Rushing could not be reached for comment.
The independent investigation also found that Rushing made derogatory remarks about Portuguese-Americans and other groups based on their religion, ethnicity and national origin.
Rushing was appointed in 2002 to the newly created seat on the California Sixth District Court of Appeal by then-governor Gray Davis. He was elevated to presiding justice on Jan. 21, 2003.
The Sixth District is located in San Jose and has jurisdiction over Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.