Before senior aide to Pennsylvania governor resigned, coworker accused adviser of sexual harassment

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Miss Penn sits on top of the dome at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, June 29, 2023. A senior adviser to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro who abruptly resigned Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, had been accused earlier this year of sexual harassment by a coworker who said his behavior forced her to quit her job in the governor's office. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A senior adviser to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro who abruptly resigned this week had been accused earlier this yr of sexual harassment by a coworker who stated his conduct pressured her to give up her job within the governor’s workplace.

Mike Vereb, who served as Shapiro’s secretary of legislative affairs till his resignation on Wednesday, was accused within the lady’s criticism to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Fee of subjecting her to lewd, misogynistic and undesirable sexual advances throughout her temporary stint working within the governor’s administration.

Vereb didn’t instantly reply to a message left on his cellphone Thursday.

A former state lawmaker, Vereb labored intently with Shapiro when he was lawyer common. After the Democrat gained the governor’s put up, Verb assumed the position of shepherding the governor’s agenda by means of the politically divided Legislature.

In an announcement dated March 31 to the state Workplace of Administration, the girl stated Vereb instructed her that “For those who and I made a decision to enter right into a sexual relationship it will be our enterprise” and that he additionally instructed her to put on lower-cut tops and skirts with shorter slits.

Shapiro’s spokesperson, Manuel Bonder, stated in an emailed assertion that he wouldn’t touch upon a selected personnel matter. However he stated the state takes “allegations of discrimination and harassment significantly” and there are procedures to research such claims.

The girl’s lawyer, Chuck Pascal, stated Thursday he was not in a position to “verify the contents or authenticity of any alleged criticism, draft criticism or written assertion” from her. “We additionally can’t at the moment verify the existence of any settlement, settlement, or different decision of this matter.” Bonder declined to touch upon the existence of any settlement.

The girl was provided a place within the governor’s administration concerning the time Shapiro was taking workplace in January and resigned in March after she introduced forth issues over Vereb’s conduct, in line with her fee criticism. She stated the governor’s workplace didn’t treatment the scenario or shield her from retaliation.

Within the assertion to the Workplace of Administration, the girl wrote that she was afraid of Vereb.

“I’m afraid of what he’ll do, the rumors he’ll unfold, I’m scared for my skilled profession,” she stated. “I’m placing this all on the road as a result of I’m fearful that he’ll do that to another person.”

State Rep. Abby Main, a Republican from Armstrong County, stated the girl supplied her with the interview and criticism a number of months in the past, at a time once they have been speaking every day concerning the matter.

“She misplaced her livelihood,” Main stated, noting rumors have been being unfold about it. “So I’m positive it was very tough to attempt to proceed working on this ambiance and within the sphere of politics the place a number of the individuals on the very prime are working towards you.”

Vereb, a Republican, is a former Montgomery County police officer who was elected to the state Legislature in 2007 and served 5 phrases. He served alongside Shapiro when he additionally was a Montgomery county state consultant. In 2017, Vereb went to work for the Pennsylvania Workplace of the Lawyer Normal beneath Shapiro.

The governor’s workplace introduced Vereb’s resignation on Wednesday and appointed TJ Yablonski to the position, beginning Monday.

Shapiro has not issued any public touch upon his departure. In an announcement Wednesday saying Vereb’s resignation, Shapiro’s chief of employees, Dana Fritz, credited Vereb for work on the state price range and referred to as him a “key member of a crew.”

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