Nov. 18, 2018: After the publication of this story, Richard Boeckman contacted the Great Bend Tribune to report he had settled his part of the civil suit filed by Robin Rziha for $500. His comments appear in the public forum and can be read at this link: https://anvil.gbtribune.com/opinion/moving-after-civil-case-closed/
Barton County paid $50,000 to Robin Rziha in her civil suit that alleged sexual misconduct by former County Administrator Richard Boeckman. The case has been dismissed with prejudice, which is a final judgment.
In her petition, Rziha alleged that she and Boeckman first met in February 2016 at a community meeting on mental health and substance abuse disorder, and they met on March 22, 2016, at the Barton County Communications Center “in a professional capacity.” The petition goes on to read the two were sitting in an office at the center when Boeckman got up and ran his fingers through Rziha’s hair. When she tried to leave, Boeckman closed the office door and forcefully grabbed Rziha “as if to hug her,” put his lips on her lips and “attempted to stick his tongue into Plaintiff’s mouth.”
After that meeting, Rziha alleged Boeckman “engaged in a malicious and outrageous pattern of conduct toward Plaintiff.” This included telling her he thought her husband was cheating on her, telling her he loved her and had dreams about her, telling her his wife heard he was having an affair with Rziha, and that he knew Pawnee County commissioners and could get her fired.
Rziha said she suffered “severe emotional distress” as a result, including panic attacks and is receiving ongoing treatment because of Boeckman’s actions.
The Board of County Commissioners was also named in the suit, which alleged negligence because, “on or before Feb. 8, 2016, the (board) learned the defendant Richard Boeckman engaged in a pattern or practice of sexually harassing women on Barton County property.”
Boeckman resigned as county administrator via letter last October. He was awarded a $27,500 buyout.
"Release of all claims"
The records on file at the courthouse show the case was terminated in October and all parties must pay their own attorney fees. The files do not show any settlements. The Great Bend Tribune learned about the county’s “release of all claims” by filing a freedom of information request.
In consideration of the $50,000, the county is released of all claims from Rziha. “This includes any allegation or claim of loss of consortium relating to or by the undersigned’s husband, Scott Rziha,” the document states.
According to the order signed on Sept. 10, “This release is the result of a compromise of disputed claims alleged by (Rziha) against the Board of County Commissioners of Barton County and shall never at any time be considered an admission of liability or responsibility on the part of the persons and entities herein released, and said persons and entities continue to deny such liability and to disclaim such responsibility, and intend merely to avoid litigation. The claims against defendant Richard Boeckman continue and are not released.”