“Lawyers and judges are so ignorant of the problems that they have normalized the behavior and don’t see how troubling it is,” she says. “Regrettably in the US, we don’t seem to be taking the problem of pornography as seriously as we should.”

Boyd and Underwood declined to be interviewed. But by the staff’s accounts, Isom’s behavior initially came as a surprise to his colleagues and employees, though it also capped a longer series of changes. Shannon Riverman, an assistant to all three dentists for 12 years, remembers how Isom was once a bubbly person with an infectious sense of humor. Passing tools hand-to-hand over patients, she recalled, she had a rapport with the dentist that was once so good the biggest glitch was keeping the patients from laughing. It was Isom, she said, who rushed to grab takeout when busy days whittled lunch to 10 minutes. He tagged along with the office staff to matinees. A religious man, he was known as the friendly evangelizer for pushing, to a point just shy of irritation, his moral and ethical convictions.

“I really thought Dr. Boyd and Dr. Underwood would retire first and I would work another 10 years with Dr. Isom,” Riverman said.

During the two years before the porn episodes precipitated his departure, Isom’s behavior shifted, according to his staff. He became moody and grumpy. His cheeriness shifted to bossiness. He ate alone. There were no more matinees. When Isom started staying late at work and spending hours on the office computer, claiming to be watching television or playing solitaire, Casson, the office manager, said she suspected depression.

“We didn’t, at the time, understand what it really meant,” said Webb. “If you don’t know what he’s doing, you don’t know how weird it is.”

Gazing through a sliding door toward her garden, tightly gripping her cup of tea, Webb describes damages the lawsuit’s arbiters failed to account for: the thick tension that filled the office after Isom was caught masturbating and the creepiness that made even his long trips to the bathroom seem suspicious. No one knew what to say to him. Yet another woman, a former employee, then came forward to say she, too, had happened on Isom viewing a full-frontal nude image at work.

Beyond the awkwardness and worries about future encounters with Isom, Casson worried about clients: “We didn’t want to schedule patients with somebody who goes into his office and masturbates during the middle of the day.”

The arbitrators released their ruling on the day of the office Christmas party in 2009. The outcome had some people in tears at the Old Spaghetti Factory. During the party, the staff gave each of the doctors a card with personal messages of thanks for protecting them from Isom.

“I’ve been to funerals that were not as hard to deal with as that,” said Casson. “The reason they were crying was not the money. It was the betrayal and the lack of justice being reinforced.”

Casson and Webb strongly believe Boyd and Underwood did the right thing by casting Isom out. Reflecting on the ruling, Webb remains puzzled by the arbitrators’ decision: “I think the arbitrators need to explain why they ignored federal law. Our employers were required to protect us from unwanted sexual contact. Why did [Isom’s rental agreement] supersede our right to work in an environment where we’re not being harassed?”