Employee alleges years of sexual harassment by LA Secretary of State

Employee alleges years of sexual harassment by LA Secretary of State
Sec. of State Tom Schedler

(WVUE) - Louisiana Democrats are calling on Secretary of State Tom Schedler to either clear his name or step down. This after one of his employees filed a lawsuit alleging years of sexual harassment.

"The sense that I have from my client is that she has tried to handle what are clearly unwanted attention and affection from this man for years," said plaintiff attorney Jill Craft.

Craft offers a slew of love letters and cards she says Schedler sent her client.

Craft reads from one of the letters, "there was a perfect gift from me to you with my sincerest thoughts and yes from the deepest recesses of my heart."

In the 11-page lawsuit filed Thursday, Schedler's employee alleges a decade of unwanted sexual advances amounting to a "sexually hostile and abusive working environment."

According to the suit, it started in 2007, before Schedler became Secretary of State, when he moved into the same complex as the woman. It indicates Schedler "began making numerous comments to petitioner, clearly signaling to her he was watching petitioner while she was at her home."

The suit goes onto say Schedler began inviting her to dinner and various events, but she declined.

It indicates she did, however, take a trip with Schedler to Arizona as friends. Yet, once they arrived the woman learned Schedler had booked the two in the same room.

The lawsuit alleges, when the employee refused Schedler's advances, he "engaged in retaliatory harassment directed at petitioner...assigning her to undesirable assignments."

"It was a strange scenario like that where no never meant no and any attempt to communicate with her boss, I mean he's in charge of her entire office, was taken completely out of context almost as if an open invitation," explained Craft.

"They will have to prove most, if not all of those incidents to try to prove a pattern of behavior to reach the threshold to reach the requirements of sexual harassment," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti.

Raspanti says because this is a civil case, the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence. That is, more likely than not.

"They better do it by either testimony, by physical evidence, by text, by letters, by whatever they have. They'll have the chance to put this forward," he said.

Schedler released a statement Thursday afternoon indicating he and the employee did have sexual relationship, but he says it was consensual.
The employee's attorney denies that.