Attorney talks about $85k settlement with La. governor’s office over staffer sexual harassment case

Johnny Anderson (Source: LaPolitics)
Johnny Anderson (Source: LaPolitics)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana will pay $85,000 to a former employee of the governor's office and her attorney for a sexual harassment allegation.

The settlement is related to the claim that Governor John Bel Edwards' former deputy chief of staff, Johnny Anderson, sexually harassed the former female employee while the two were working for Edwards. Both resigned at the end of 2017.

The woman's name is being withheld for her privacy.

According to the agreement, Anderson and the governor's office are not admitting to any wrongdoing. Rather, the document states the payment is being made to avoid expensive litigation.

"It was remarkable to me how quickly the situation was addressed," said attorney, Jill Craft. "That doesn't happen very often and we are very grateful. That shows a lot of leadership and that shows a lot of courage."

The settlement is pretty standard for the most part. It can't be used as an admission of guilt in any future legal proceedings. It states, "Anderson expressly denies any liability or wrongdoing of any kind associated with the woman's claims." It goes on to say, "He contends that there is no evidence that any Louisiana sexual harassment laws or any other applicable laws have been violated."

Craft, who is speaking on her client's behalf, says the woman is satisfied with the terms. "I think she would want everyone to know it's okay to open your mouth and say something," said Craft.

This isn't the first time Anderson has been accused of sexual harassment. He stepped down from his position as chairman of the Southern University Board of Supervisors back in 2007 for similar allegations. Several female employees accused Anderson of harassment and for seeking sexual favors for promotions or job security, but no criminal charges were ever brought against Anderson.

Craft says her client was adamant about having her complaints addressed. She says the settlement allows her to begin the healing process.

"I think she is looking forward with her family. She's been though some really difficult times personally and obviously professionally, and I think being able to close the door and move forward," said Craft.


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