- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2012

A former firefighter has settled with Fairfax County over a high-profile sexual harassment case that included charges that the woman’s recruitment officer asked during her interview if she “enjoyed being watched while she had sex.”

The little-noticed settlement, reached in March, came nearly a year after a jury awarded Mary Getts Bland $250,000. The county appealed the award, and U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris reduced it to $50,000.

The case continued because Ms. Bland was awarded $307,000 in attorney’s fees and other costs, but the county appealed those as well. She settled the fees for “modestly less,” according to her attorney, David Shapiro.

“Compromise is part of the process,” Mr. Shapiro said. “If we weren’t happy with the result, we wouldn’t have done the result. We got a lot of money as a result of the judge’s award.”

According to sworn testimony, Ms. Bland said that during her recruitment interview a decade ago, Lt. Timothy D. Young “asked me if I like to be watched while I masturbate.”

“He asked you that?” Mr. Shapiro asked.

“Yes,” she responded. “He would interject these inappropriate questions throughout the interview. He asked me if I liked to have sex with more than one partner at the same time.”

Mr. Young denied asking Ms. Bland about sex during her recruitment process, but “admitted making off-color comments periodically,” according to Felecia L. Edwards, then the equal employment opportunity officer with the department.

“Did he admit to asking her about sex, allowing people to look at her when she masturbates, enjoying sex with more than one person, when she was a recruit? Did he admit to that?” Mr. Shapiro asked during the trial.

“No, he did not, that I remember,” Ms. Edwards replied.

“He denied that, didn’t he?” Mr. Shapiro asked.

“Yes.”

“And you believed him?”

“It’s not about whether I believe him or not, sir.”

After Ms. Bland was working with the department, Mr. Young would page her at work over a loudspeaker, and when she called him he would invite her to Night Dreams, an adult sex shop in Tysons Corner.

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