Former San Diego Planning Director Robert Spaulding, the man accused of sexual harassment during in a City Hall scandal, testified Wednesday that former city planner Susan Bray consented to sex throughout their 2 1/2-year relationship.
Called by attorneys defending the city against Bray’s multimillion-dollar lawsuit in U.S. District Court before Judge Edward J. Schwartz, Spaulding said that Bray even complimented him on his body and sexual performance.
“On numerous occasions, she said it was the best sex she had ever had,” he said.
Spaulding strongly contradicted Bray’s testimony last week, which indicated that she “submitted” to Spaulding’s sexual advances because she feared losing her job overseeing planning issues in the historic Gaslamp Quarter.
The sexual relationship was the basis for a sexual harassment claim that Bray filed with the state after she and Spaulding ended their relationship. Several high-ranking city officials have testified during the three weeks of the trial that they engineered a secret and complex $100,000 agreement to settle the claim in order to protect the privacy of both people.
However, word of the settlement leaked out in May, 1991, and the City Council forced Spaulding to resign from his job. While Bray left her post as part of the settlement, she has testified that the public scandal caused severe trauma and has left her unable to work.
Although Spaulding agreed with Bray that the two met a beach-area bar one night in April, 1988--purportedly so Bray could give the recently arrived Spaulding a tour of the city--he contradicted her by testifying that mutual sexual sparks immediately began flowing between the two.
Bray, who was wearing “tight jeans” and “a top that showed a lot of cleavage,” touched him on several occasions, Spaulding said. “My reaction would be about the same as any other man, I guess,” he said.
After drinking three martinis, which made him inebriated, Spaulding said, Bray drove the pair directly to her La Jolla apartment. Bray testified that Spaulding demanded to use the bathroom there, but he testified Wednesday that he did not recall making such a request.
“It seemed like it was a mutual thing,” he said. “We were embracing . . . the next thing I know, clothes were coming off.”
Afterward, they discussed “how satisfying it was,” Spaulding said.
During questioning by the city’s attorney, Michael Weaver, Spaudling vehemently denied the allegations that Bray made last week involving hostile behavior and threats.
“Never did she ever express” anything indicating that she was being forced to have sex, he testified.
After this and their subsequent encounters, Spaulding said, he had feelings of remorse and guilt, driven primarily by thoughts of his wife.
“We enjoyed each other’s company when we were together. . . . We would have sex and afterward, yes, I would feel guilty,” he testified, adding that there were about six sexual encounters altogether.
Spaulding, now 45 years old and running a small business with his wife in another state, testified that he never discussed employment issues with Bray and, on one occasion, refused to intervene on her behalf as she attempted to receive disability payments in another stress-related claim.
Discussing one conversation he had with Bray involving her complaints about a supervisor, Spaulding said he “ran a flag up in my mind” that was designed to remind him to be sure he kept his distance from employment issues that would relate to her.
Testimony is expected to end this week.