AP NEWS

Georgia official accused of sexual harassment, retaliation

December 27, 2019 GMT

ATLANTA (AP) — A district attorney in Georgia is accused of sexually harassing an administrator for months and then demoting her for resisting it.

The allegations are detailed in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliant filed by former Fulton County human resources director Tisa Grimes, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Grimes, 45, said District Attorney Paul Howard, 68, made her feel uncomfortable for months through suggestive comments and unwanted touching, including during a staff retreat.

“It seemed like every time I went to the restroom he would appear,” she said.

She said rebuffing Howard’s continued advances caused her to lose some responsibilities and be moved into a different role.

She has audio recordings showcasing the “severe, unwelcome sexual harassment” and “hostile work environment” she said. The newspaper wasn’t allowed to listen to the recordings.

Howard denies the allegations, which his attorney, Anita Wallace Thomas, said lack merit and arose only after Grimes’ role was changed. The role change wasn’t a demotion and kept Grimes at the same level of compensation and benefits, Howard said. Grimes was transferred to a program called Project Level Up, which works with juvenile offenders. Grimes was transferred into a position that matched her skill set, Howard said.

Howard’s attorney said her client is cooperating with an investigation into the allegations, and as such, can’t comment further.