HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania state government agencies fielded 339 reports of alleged sexual harassment over a recent five-year period, according to data released Tuesday.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration provided the breakdown for agencies under his jurisdiction to The Associated Press in response to a Right-to-Know Law request, as two state government officials resigned amid allegations by women of misconduct in the workplace.
A running total compiled by the AP indicates the cost to settle claims and investigate complaints over the past eight years is well into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Of the departments with the largest number of complaints, the Corrections Department said it had 91 sexual harassment reports over the five years that ended June 30. The Human Services Department had 58 reports, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board 60 and the state police 34 over that same period.
That total state workforce under Wolf’s jurisdiction is some 73,000 people.
The administration produced the figures, but did not provide any details about the reports, and said it was still collecting information about sexual harassment lawsuits and settlements. The Office of Administration said a follow-up response on those aspects would take a few more weeks.
“The administration is working on an in-depth review of complaints,” said Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott, including “the nature of the complaint and how it was handled.”
Previously released records showed all three branches of state government have settled sexual misconduct allegations in recent years, including claims for unwelcome touching, kissing and lascivious comments.
In the past two weeks, Wolf has called on two Democratic lawmakers to resign following disclosures about their behavior, including one, Rep. Tom Caltagirone, whose former aide’s claim of sexual harassment was settled with a $250,000 payment.
Caltagirone has said he is innocent.
On Tuesday, officials said that state Fire Commissioner Tim Solobay and the Senate’s security chief Justin Ferrante had resigned in recent days amid reviews of complaints.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf said Solobay, a former state lawmaker from Washington County, stepped down on Sunday. His resignation was first reported by Pennlive.com , which said Solobay quit after it tried to contact him for a story on a 2011 complaint that he slapped a female Senate aide on her rear-end when he was a state senator.
Wolf said Tuesday that he first heard about the woman’s complaint a few days ago from an administration aide, but would not say whether he asked Solobay to resign.
Solobay declined comment on his resignation, but said he is hiring a lawyer and suggested in a Facebook post that the truth “will come out in the end.”
Senate officials say Ferrante resigned Friday amid an inquiry by an outside law firm hired by the Senate to look into a workplace harassment complaint first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Drew Crompton, a top aide to Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, gave no details about the complaint.
Ferrante declined comment to the newspapers, which reported that the complaints came from two female subordinates and involved sending inappropriate text messages, including a sexually graphic photo.
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)