Tonsa B. v. City of Oakland was the second of a pair of shocking high profile sexual harassment cases against the City of Oakland. The case settled for $750,000. Tonsa B. (a pseudonym), began her first job at age 15 when she was hired by Clayton Collins as his clerical assistant in 1996. Tonsa B. was hired to work in the City of Oakland’s Office of Parks and Recreation. Tonsa B. alleged that Collins induced her to accompany him to various local hotels during working hours to have sex with him, and on one occasion, assaulted her at the office.
Clayton Collins came to work for the City’s Office of Parks and Recreation in 1993. Prior to being hired to work for the City, Collins was convicted of possession of cocaine. In 1987, Collins was convicted of bank robbery and served three years in state prison. In 1992, he was convicted of molesting a 14-year-old girl who participated in an after-school youth program through the Oakland Public schools. Following a plea bargain in that case, Collins was ordered to register as a sex offender.
The City was aware that Collins was on court-ordered probation barring him from working with girls under age 18. Nevertheless, Collins was made the Director of the City’s Parks and Recreation’s Youth at Risk Program where he hired and supervised numerous young girls under the age of 18, including Tonsa B.
Tonsa B. reported her experiences with Collins to the Oakland Police in January 1997, along with two other victims. Initially, the police and the District Attorney declined to prosecute the case. In late 1998, after the first case was filed, Collins was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender in the City of Alameda.
Tonsa B. accused the City and Councilmember Larry Reid of failing to prevent or remedy Collins’ frequent sexual abuse of his female employees. Reid, former Mayor Elihu Harris’ Chief-of-Staff and now a City Councilman, allegedly knew of Collins’ prior convictions and the numerous complaints of violence and sexual harassment against him, but continued to protect and support him. The case was settled in March 2001 for $750,000.00.
Previously, in 1999, the City paid $825,000 to settle the case of Alice A. v. City of Oakland. In that case, the Law Offices of Pamela Y. Price represented Alice A., a 22 year old woman, who alleged that Collins repeatedly sexually and physically assaulted her while she worked for the Youth at Risk Program. She too reported her experiences with Collins to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office, which initially declined to prosecute Collins. Following the publicity surrounding the filing of the civil lawsuits by Law Offices of Pamela Y. Price, Collins was belatedly charged with six (6) counts of statutory rape based upon his assaults against Tonsa B.
Eventually, following the settlement of their cases, both young women were able to go on with their lives.