Gov. Edwards says Sec. of State Schedler should step down

Gov. John Bel Edwards (Source: WAFB)
Gov. John Bel Edwards (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has called for the resignation of Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

Schedler, a Republican, admits to having what he terms a "consensual" sexual relationship with a female employee. The governor, who is a Democrat, made the call just hours after a similar plea from a Republican lawmaker.

"I've consistently said that any instances of sexual harassment in the workplace should not be tolerated," Edwards said. "Elected officials must live by an even higher standard. Because of the number of specific and serious allegations in the lawsuit and the fact that he has admitted to conduct that by definition is sexual harassment, he should immediately resign his position. I believe this would be the best path forward for Tom and the state of Louisiana."

"I share his sentiments [the governor]," Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge added. "No person should feel threatened or work in fear because they are being harassed by their boss. He needs to step down. In addition, I believe consistency is important!"

Wednesday morning, Sen. Sharon Hewitt became the first fellow Republican to call for his resignation. The Louisiana Democratic Party did so last week.

The employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Schedler last week, claiming he ignored her requests to leave her alone for more than a decade.

The woman who filed suit, through her lawyer, provided multiple examples of love notes and cards Schedler sent her, often referring to her as "My Dearest Sunshine."

Hewitt, from Slidell, is considering a run for governor.

"I've read the detailed and documented accusations of sexual harassment against Tom Schedler," Hewitt said in a statement Wednesday. "It is very sad to read charges about someone I've known for years and consider a friend. His admission of an inappropriate relationship with a state worker that reported to him is indefensible."

Schedler is currently out of town. His spokeswoman said Schedler is taking some time away from the office and will not be in for the rest of the week. He declines comment about calls for his resignation.

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