Schwarzenegger Takes Sexual Harassment Class

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose campaign was dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct, volunteered to take a two-hour course about preventing sexual harassment earlier this year.

Schwarzenegger wasn't required to take the training course, which was conducted by a deputy attorney general who is an expert in employment and discrimination law, his spokeswoman Margita Thompson said Wednesday.

Schwarzenegger said he volunteered to take the course along with his senior staff, who were required to take the class as part of his administration's policy, according to Thompson.

"We all went through that a long time ago," he told the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday. "Absolutely. We all did."

The training is optional for statewide elected officials such as the governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

Five days before his election, the Los Angeles Times detailed allegations from six women who said Schwarzenegger groped or sexually harassed them between 1975 and 2000. By the Oct. 7 election, the number had grown to 16.

Schwarzenegger apologized for having "behaved badly" toward women in the past but refused to discuss the allegations in detail until after he was elected. After the election, he pledged to hire an investigator to look into the allegations, but a month later decided against a probe, saying it would be only used as political fodder.

Members of the California Legislature (search) and their staffs take sexual harassment prevention training course every two years. State personnel officials said most state agencies also require a course.

Women's rights advocates said they were pleased the governor had educated himself about sexual harassment.

"Every elected official and everyone in business should take this training. And given the allegations against this governor, it was particularly important for him to take a class," said Helen Griego, executive director of the California chapter of the National Organization for Women (search).