After resignation of former governor's aide, La. Senator calls f - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

After resignation of former governor's aide, La. Senator calls for investigation into sexual harassment allegations, hiring

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A Louisiana senator has submitted an audit request to the state's legislative auditor on the heels of state and federal harassment scandals.

On Wednesday, Louisiana State Sen. Sharon Hewitt, District 1, submitted a letter to Louisiana Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera Wednesday, calling for a full performance audit into the state’s sexual harassment policies and Governor John Bel Edwards’ hiring of Johnny Anderson, according to a press release.

The request comes less than a week after the resignation of Anderson, Gov. Edwards’ deputy chief of staff for programming and planning, who was recently accused of sexual harassment.

Anderson was also previously accused of sexual harassment in a case that was embroiled in controversy in 2007, while he was serving as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s assistant chief of staff, the release says.

Sen. Hewitt says providing oversight and evaluating the transparency of the state government’s handling of Anderson’s hiring and investigation, as well as other sexual harassment and misconduct accusations, is relevant at both the local and national levels.

"Sexual harassment has no place in state government or in the private workplace," Hewitt said in the letter to Purpera. "All people have the right to work in a safe environment, without unwanted sexual advances or pressure to trade sexual favors in exchange for job security or promotions."

In the last week, reports have revealed that the U.S. Congress Office of Compliance spent two decades settling a total of 264 complaints using $17.2 million in taxpayer money.

“Louisiana citizens deserve to know how someone with a history of sexual harassment allegations managed to get a high paying job on the governor’s executive staff,” Sen. Hewitt said. “A full investigation into this situation will tell us whether it was a failure of our state policies or of our politicians, who put women in harm’s way again. If it was a failure of our policies, then the solution will be clear. If it was the result of a politician rewarding a politico, despite their background, then the voters deserve to know.”

Among the items requested in the performance, the audit is a review of the state's policies and practices relative to examining a job applicant's background, along with statistics from the Office of Risk Management and/or Civil Service on the number of sexual harassment claims and the amounts paid out over the last five years.

Sen. Hewitt is also calling for an evaluation of Louisiana’s sexual harassment policies and comparisons to related policies in other states, as well as recommendations for assisting the state in strengthening its policies, procedures, and laws pertaining to sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment has no place in state government or in the private workplace,” Sen. Hewitt writes in the letter. “All people have the right to work in a safe environment, without unwanted sexual advances or pressure to trade sexual favors in exchange for job security or promotions.”

Read the full letter below:

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