State settles sexual harassment complaints for $523,000

MADISON — Records show Wisconsin taxpayers have paid at least $523,000 over the last decade to settle sexual harassment complaints against state employees.

The documents, released to the Wisconsin State Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in open records requests, show the sum was paid to settle at least 12 sexual harassment complaints within the Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice, the state Legislature and state universities in Madison and Stevens Point, among other agencies.

The Department of Administration records show the payments made from January 2007 to November 2017 ranged from $65,000 to $100,000. DOA spokesman Steve Michels says the total might not be comprehensive because agencies are also able to settle claims on their own.

Most of the cases that ended in settlements in the last decade were brought by state employees.