Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler is being sued for allegations of sexual harassment involving his former Executive Secretary Dawn Ross. The suit alleges a pattern of repeated harassment, and claims to have multiple documents that support the accusations. Ross’s attorney Jill Crafts says that includes an explicitly worded Valentine’s letter from the Secretary.
“After he sends her this valentine’s card, he sends her a letter, and in this letter that is hand written and dated by him, it says I realize that you don’t want to have a relationship with me, but I think that will change.”
The suit alleges the harassment began in 2007 shortly after Schedler bought a townhouse in the same complex Ross lived in. It alleges Schedler made comments clearly stating that he was watching Ross in her home, including comments about male visitor’s to her house.
Craft says Schedler also bombarded Ross with dozens of inappropriate texts.
“He’s talking about clothing, how much he likes her in a black dress, there’s emails that I’m going I’m going to bring you bottles of wine. It’s clear that the pattern was one that was not going to stop.”
Craft says the harassment had an impact on Ross’s career.
“He would get upset with her and transfer her, he would soften and say let’s be friends again, and then he would escalate the situation, let’s go to dinner, let’s have a relationship.”
Schedler says his office “takes any allegation of sexual harassment very seriously”, and has issued a statement saying he believes in a safe workplace, free from harassment.
*update* Schedler says he and Ross engaged in a consensual relationship in the past. Ross is denying Schedler's charge.