News


Trial starts for Atherton public works supervisor

Opening arguments are set for 9:45 a.m. on Monday, June 29, for the trial of Atherton public works supervisor Troy Henderson. Mr. Henderson, a 33-year employee of the town, is facing misdemeanor assault and battery charges for allegedly attacking an Atherton police officer.

In a June 3, 2008, incident caught on videotape, Officer Pilar Ortiz-Buckley was sitting in the police station staff room when she was threatened by public works supervisor Troy Henderson, who then lunged at her, according to Steve Wagstaffe, the chief deputy district attorney of San Mateo County.

Mr. Henderson, 58, is also named in a civil lawsuit that Officer Ortiz-Buckley filed against the town, alleging ongoing sexual harassment by Mr. Henderson. In her April 22 complaint, Officer Ortiz-Buckley said that once she reported the incident, she faced retaliation and disability discrimination related to the injury she suffered in the incident.

Through his attorney, Mr. Henderson has said that he is innocent.

Prosecutors sought to include evidence about Mr. Henderson's alleged harassment of other female town employees, but Judge Craig Parsons denied it, although he didn't rule out the possibility that it could be brought up later in the trial, depending on Mr. Henderson's defense testimony.

Judge Parsons did grant a motion to exclude any evidence concerning the defendant's medical condition -- the defense claims Mr. Henderson is impotent and has no sex drive due to medical treatment for prostate cancer, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The trial began with jury selection and pre-trial motions on Thursday, June 25, in San Mateo County Superior Court and is in recess until Monday. It had been set to begin on June 22, but it was postponed because a courtroom was not available.

Comments

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Posted by clark kent
a resident of another community
on Jun 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm

A journalist is one who reports a story based upon independent fact finding.

Since Andrea Gemmet chose to parrot the word of Wagstaffe rather than [portion removed] look at the video herself (something she could have easily done by issuing a public records request) it would not appear as though she has any interest in laying claim to the title of journalist.

As far as Wagstaffe goes, rather than mouthing off to the press, presumably in the interest of promoting some name recognition in anticipation of the upcomming election, maybe he ought to revisit his grade school lessons on the primary tennet in the America's criminal justice system, that being one is innocent until proven guilty.


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

Wow Clark...harsh words against the Almanac and the DA...yet no scorn for a guy with a LONG history of this kind of thing. Interesting.


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Posted by amazed
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 27, 2009 at 7:56 am

Hey "Wow"...how do you know that he has a long history of this?? Maybe Pilar Ortiz buckley has a long history of this...did you ever think of that???


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Posted by waiting
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jun 27, 2009 at 9:13 am

If the defendant is found guilty...then the civil suit will be a breeze for her. The Town can dip even deeper into their reserves to write here a very very large check!!! This whole matter could have been prevented and avoided if the Town officials had done their jobs to begin with. There have been "several" documneted complaints regarding this defendant. Why then was he still employed? Over 50 and black? that is their excuse!!! Over 50 purple green or blue...he should have been let go years ago!


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Posted by Tragic
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 27, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Let's look at the real story here: it's the cops vs. Town Manager Jerry Gruber. The defendant is someone who has made various off color remarks to female employees over the years, but in a manner that people found funny and perhaps even endearing. No one took it is a serious threat. Enter the female cop who is looking to collect a disability pension. The opportunity presented itself and she seized it. Now the cops are accusing Jerry Gruber of trying to erase the tape. Amazing. I thought he's their boss...but nonetheless he's not a cop and that's what counts. Steven Wagstaffe wants the endorsement of Police Chief Glenn Nielsen more than the endorsement of Jerry Gruber next year when he runs for district attorney. Why? Just to say all the local police chiefs support him. And thus a guy who should have been firmly reprimanded (but that's about it) is on criminal trial for touching a woman's arm, and it's going to be used to game a disability pension that isn't deserved. Gruber, get a pair and fire Mr. Nielsen. Stanford is looking for additional shopping center security...


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Posted by Class of 57
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Jun 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Been around Atherton since 1957. I know City manager Gruber and his wife, before they moved here. He is a fine, upstanding, honest individual who is very devoted to his job and family. He would never jeopardize his new position with the town by "erasing" tape. A ridiculous accusation to say the least.


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Posted by Ed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Jun 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Lois, recently fired from town employment is looking for revenge on Troy and probably money in her own lawsuit if things go well for Pilar--she has made her own allogations of harassment against him. The police cheif is happy to see Troy get eliminated because Troy has been around long enough to know exactly what the police have been up to and they aren't sure he will keep keeping all their secrets . Troy-if you read this my advice is dish out all Glens dirty laundry as quick as you can--I know they are trying to bury you and I know how good they are at it---but Public works is exactly who we need to clean up the mess in this town. The DA will figure out he is being had by the cops eventually and he going to be really mad when he does..


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Posted by clark kent
a resident of another community
on Jun 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm

[Removed; excessive posts by same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Wow
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 28, 2009 at 1:14 am

Excellent points Clark, and I agree. My information is admittedly second hand, but from several sources who tell the same story, or at least the same rumor. Atherton employees are pretty hush hush, but I imagine the video will tell most of the tale, so we shall have to wait and see. I want to know the whole story too, but I am guessing the city will stonewall to protect itself, and the lawsuits will be settled with non-disclosure clauses...so we will probably never know. Thank you for staying civil...civil discourse on these threads is hard to find.


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Posted by clark kent
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2009 at 11:26 am

[Removed; excessive posts by same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by disgusted
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jun 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

This is typical Atherton at it's best. Always the drama! When will the residents get smart and oust the current chief, the current city manager and any and all people who are in charge of this obvious incompetent town!

They recklessly spend spend spend and now will be paying out to yet another law suit.


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