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Official Fined Over Internet Sex Material

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dan Robles, chairman of the local elementary school district board and director of the public library, is being docked 5% of his $45,000-a-year salary after admitting using library computers to download written sexually explicit material from the Internet.

Meanwhile, Robles’ administrative assistant, Cynthia Chamberlain, who brought her boss’s use of the equipment to the Santa Paula library board’s attention in July, has filed a claim alleging verbal and written sexual harassment by Robles with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The claim stems in part from sexually explicit material Chamberlain discovered in several binders in a library storeroom, about a year before bringing it to the board’s attention, board member Mal King said.

Chamberlain also contends she was informed earlier this month she was being fired for poor work performance in an action her Ventura attorney describes as “retribution” and “retaliation” for her whistle-blowing.

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“It’s our belief this is a retaliatory act and that questions about her performance never arose until she made her complaints to the board,” said attorney Janet Koehn.

Koehn distributed copies of the written pornographic material Robles downloaded, to a variety of law enforcement agencies Aug. 25, including the Ventura County Grand Jury and district attorney’s office. Koehn contends the material could be considered obscene and potentially constitutes a “misuse of public funds” because it was generated by using the library district’s equipment.

The library board refutes Chamberlain’s claims of sexual harassment in a response to the state agency that will be filed Monday.

“The library’s position is that she decided she was being sexually harassed only after open conflict with the library director over her inadequate performance,” said King, reading from the statement.

Robles, a longtime library employee, was warned he would be fired if he repeated his admitted “inappropriate Internet use,” King said.

Board President Elizabeth Blanchard found it strange that Chamberlain didn’t bring up the allegations until after she received a poor performance evaluation last spring.

“It’s a muddled affair and it’s a case of a strange sequence of actions that don’t seem to make much sense,” Blanchard said. “According to her own records, she had come across this material more than a year ago and she just evidently sat on it and it wasn’t until she received an unsatisfactory job evaluation that she came forward with this material.”

Neither Chamberlain, who has worked at the library for about 2 1/2 years and remains on the job, nor Robles could be reached for comment.

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