Three city prosecutors under fire for sharing sexist, racist and homophobic emails completed sensitivity training Friday, according to a release from the District Attorney's Office.
The session was given nearly three months after District Attorney Seth Williams promised the prosecutors would receive the training, and after weeks of mounting criticism that the three remain on the public payroll.
Until Monday's statement, Williams had ignored repeated requests for information about the promised sensitivity training and whether the prosecutors, Frank Fina, Marc Costanzo and Patrick Blessington had received it. Monday's statement said that Williams took the training as well.
"I know that they found this training seminar as instructional and helpful as I did," Williams said in the release. "Frank, Markand Patrick are great prosecutors who clearly made a big mistake. They have learned from their mistakes. This training along with continued reinforcement and supervision will allow us to move the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office forward and do what we do best - work to make the city a safer and more honest place to live, work and raise a family."
The full-day training was led by Paul Meshanko, CEO of Legacy Business Cultures, and provided by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
Costanzo, Blessington and Fina received or sent pornographic, racist and anti-gay emails while employed with state Attorney General's office. Williams said in early September that rather than fire the men he would send them to training.
That training occurred after questions and heated pressure from the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women, the female members of City Council and state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams over the last three weeks.
According to the news release, the training seminar, entitled "Connecting with Respect," helps "to establish a culture at the top of any organization where respect and workplace civility are the primary focus."
"By exploring how blind spots, stereotypes and biases can lead to inappropriate actions and behaviors, both consciously and unconsciously, I believe the entire group is now much more aware of steps they can take to minimize the degree to which subtle demonstrations of sexism, racism and/or homophobia can taint the otherwise outstanding work done by your office," Meshanko - the lecturer, said.
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