Attorney for Schedler's accuser fires back following his decision to not resign immediately
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The attorney for the woman behind the accusations against Secretary of State Tom Schedler is not satisfied with what he said in his first time publicly addressing those sexual harassment allegations.
Fresh off what he called an extended personal leave, Schedler announced Wednesday in a news conference that he was not going anywhere without a fight. While at times holding back tears, the secretary answered the growing cries for his resignation, saying that he would stay in his current role until his term ends in two years, but that he would not seek reelection in 2019.
"Staying's not going to be easy, but leaving would be cowardly and Tom Schedler is not a coward," he said.
"I sure heard a lot of 'I' and 'me,' but not a darned thing about his responsibility in this role. I mean, come on," said Jill Craft.
Attorney Jill Craft represents the who filed the claims and says her biggest problem is with what he did not say. Last month, her client, who still works in Schedler's office, came forward with scathing allegations that Schedler wrote countless love notes and cards, moved into a condo across from her, and would regularly show up with flowers and candy. At one point, the lawsuit alleges Schedler even gave the woman pornography.
According to Craft, her client alleges all of the actions were unwanted advances she tried to end.
"It's been a long time in the making and frankly, I think she tried every single avenue she could think of to say, 'I'm not interested in you,'" said Craft.
Craft says she will not judge Schedler's decision not to resign, but believes what she saw Wednesday was not someone taking responsibility for their actions, but a person only interested in shifting the blame.
At one point during the news conference, the Secretary of State said he simply could not walk away from his current position because it would be unfair to his staff as they work to meet critical deadlines for upcoming elections. "I just can't do it," said Schedler. "We'd throw this organization into total chaos because I've been targeted in an unfair lawsuit."
While he apologized to his staff and his family, Craft says her issue is he never once specifically addressed the allegations or her client directly. "I've always fessed up to anything that I did and I took the hit first day. It wasn't easy, but I manned up and I did it," Schedler added.
"Manning up is 'I did this and I didn't do this and this is the truth,'" said Craft. "I didn't hear that."
As this continues to play out in the court of public opinion, both Schedler and Craft say they are both looking forward to the truth coming out in the court of law. "All the facts will be revealed in the proper place in the proper time," said Schedler. "I do not intend to fill rumor mills and gossip columns."
"Bring it on, because for better or for worse, that's why we have courts," Craft added.
Schedler's term expires in January of 2020.
- Gov. Edwards says Sec. of State Schedler should step down
- GOP State Senator wants Schedler to step down amid allegations of relationship with employee
- Female employee files harassment suit against Sec. of State Schedler
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