East Haven mayor, town and sexual harassment accuser reach 175k settlement

NEW HAVEN -- It’s a six-figure settlement.

One-time East Haven employee Francine Carbone says East Haven mayor Joe Maturo sexually harassed her by exposing himself to her and making multiple lewd comments. Wednesday Carbone agreed to a deal for $175,000 and lifetime health benefits, at the taxpayers’ expense, for those allegations and others involving alleged wage and overtime problems.

In a statement the town says it believes it could have won in court but that it could have been a lot more expensive.

“It was an offer that was exceptional and because of what Ms. Carbone has gone through and because of what she is experiencing now with the stress and the anxiety she had to take it for herself and her family,” said Carbone’s attorney, Rachel Baird.

The deal does not include an admission of guilt from the mayor. When asked Maturo’s attorney Hugh Keefe if his client sexually harassed Carbone he said, “No, no, absolutely not.”

Keefe admits the case could have been challenging if it moved forward. “These are difficult cases this day and age because of the advent of me too and the other sexual assault and sexual harassment organizations that make it very difficult in court to win them whether you’re guilty or not guilty, there’s a feeling that if you bring them against someone, then that person is guilty,” says Keefe.

Baird says it is frustrating that there was no admission of guilt by the mayor, “It is frustrating but on the other hand, is there ever an admission of guilt? A judge may find in the plaintiff’s favor, there may be appeals from the other side when they lose, and the end result is that Ms. Carbone goes through five, 10, 15 years of waiting for justice at the expense of her own health and her family.”

Keefe says his client doesn’t regret any of his behavior, Baird sees things differently

“I hope that we learn something, my greatest fear is that we haven’t learned anything, but that is up to the people of East Haven to decide,” says Baird.

Baird says there was no confidentiality agreement tied to this settlement and she plans to share the information she uncovered during her investigation with the town.