Nov. 8 (UPI) — The chief of staff for Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., was placed on leave Tuesday following sexual harassment allegations made against him.
Four former staffers for Lawrence told Politico that Dwayne Duron Marshall sexually harassed them, including comments about their looks and unwanted touching. Marshall has denied the allegations, but he was placed on leave pending an investigation.
“It is unfortunate that I am just learning of these allegations by unidentified former employees for the first time,” Lawrence said Tuesday in a statement to CNN. “My office will nonetheless take all necessary steps to root out and address any inappropriate behavior.”
The former staffers said they told Lawrence about the unwanted advances, but were ignored. Lawrence, however, said she was not told of anything that constituted “sexual harassment.”
“I want to be very clear, very firm, that I had no knowledge of any allegations of sexual harassment in my office, and when I say none, I mean none,” she told Politico. “I have had individual conversations with some of my employees when they had exit interviews. I’ve had one-on-ones, and we have discussed things in the office that they felt we could do better. I have implemented training and other positive forms of correction. … But I have not, and I want to be very clear, have not ever, had an employee — former or present — talk to me about sexual harassment in my office.”
Marshall said he has never had a sexual harassment complaint filed against him in nearly 30 years of public service.
“In fact, for the last 17 years of my career, I have directly represented women in the workplace,” he said. “Despite these slanderous accusations, I will continue to focus on working on behalf of the constituents in our district.”