Former State Assemblyman Was Facing Sexual Harassment Investigation When He Was Hired as USC Professor

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Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is seen in a photo posted to his website.
Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas is seen in a photo posted to his website.

Former Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was the subject of two sexual harassment complaints at the time he stepped down from the Legislature last year, according to documents reviewed by The Times and sources familiar with the matter.

Ridley-Thomas, who denied any wrongdoing, went on a few months later to become a professor of social work and public policy at USC.

When the junior legislator, the son of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, abruptly resigned from the Assembly in December, he cited chronic health problems that were known in Sacramento and had necessitated five surgeries in the previous year.

A university source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said USC had found no evidence that Sebastian Ridley-Thomas informed administrators he was under investigation. A background check conducted before his hiring did not identify any red flags, the source said. USC fired Ridley-Thomas last month amid questions about his appointment and a $100,000 donation to the school from his father’s campaign funds.

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