DEWINE EXPLANATION OF WEAK HARASSMENT RESPONSE MISSTATES FACTS, UNDERSCORES PROBLEMS IN OFFCE

COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper’s campaign issued the following statement regarding Mike DeWine’s response to on-going harassment issues in the Attorney General’s Office. Last week, the Associated Press revealed that an attorney in DeWine’s office repeatedly threatened a legal secretary. A senior DeWine aide who was aware of the threats was disciplined for not reporting them, but later was allowed to have the punishment overturned.

Specifically, DeWine told WBNS 10TV that threats “weren’t directed at any one person in the sense that he was going to hurt anybody.” However, news reports and the incident file demonstrate that the threats went on for a period of several months and were aimed directly at a female employee. Amongst other things, she was told, “You know you will do your job or you will be smacked.”

After months of prodding by female colleagues, the attorney who made these threats was given a “working suspension” and remains on the AG’s payroll. The victim no longer works there.

Timothy Lecklider, the senior DeWine aide who failed to report the threats, told a colleague he didn’t want to create a “no fun zone” in the office.

Peter Koltak, Pepper’s Communications Director, made the following statement:

“Violent threats often precede violence itself. Leadership starts at the top, and Mike DeWine’s alarmingly dismissive attitude about threats against women explains why a harassment culture has overtaken his office. In 2014, the Ohio Attorney General should recognize that women deserve to be treated with respect, not be repeatedly victimized to preserve the office’s ‘fun zone.’”

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