DeWine Answers Questions On Handling Of Sexual Harassment Case

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says two investigations were already complete when he requested the name of a confidential informant in a sexual harassment case involving his office.

"The investigator mentioned to me there was a confidential informant who had given some information but the investigator said she still didn't have enough information to go on," said DeWine.  "So I looked at that and said 'that's my responsibility.'  I not only have a legal obligation to check out what's going on but I have a moral obligation to every person who walks in the door and works here.   So I asked for the name of the confidential informant.  She told me.  I talked to the confidential informant and just like our investigator I came up with no more information that I could do anything with."

The young woman had worked as a paid intern in DeWine’s office.

When offered a permanent job after graduating from Case Western University she declined, telling DeWine's office she had been a "possible victim" of sexual harassment by a "high up" employee.

This prompted two investigations - one internally in DeWine's office and the other by Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

The young woman later recanted the allegation under oath when meeting with O'Brien.

"I felt quite bluntly that I had to leave no stone unturned," DeWine told 10TV.  "I had to do everything I could within my power to find out if this had occurred, and if it did occur, who did it."

Ohio Democrats have accused DeWine of interfering in a sexual harassment investigation and that he should have never sought the young woman's name.

"While a boss has the right to know what's going on, the boss meeting separately with the witness would send up red flags about possible intimidation by the witness by the boss," said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.  "There has to be a process, especially a paid intern in her younger 20s, to navigate without fear of intimidation and that goes with any department, especially in public life."

Redfern questions whether there is still a sexual predator loose in the Attorney Generals office.

"If that person is still working, there is somebody who has been accused of a serious incident who is still working among employees at the Attorney Generals office," said Redfern.  "We need to know who that person was and what happened."

DeWine says at this point he has done everything he can.

"I think we've done everything we can to find out if it's accurate and to try to find out who the invididual was," said DeWine.  "We never got anywhere in that investigation."

Redfern also claimed that DeWine longtime friend William Schenck was the person involved in the harrassment.

"By process of elimination Bill Schenck meets all of the descriptions that were offered as part of the timeless as well as part of the investigation," said Redfern.

DeWine dismisses Redfern's claim saying it's nothing but a political smear.

"I think it is reprehensible what the state Democratic Party is doing," said DeWine.  "When you look at the reports there is absolutely no indication that this individual was involved in this.  They should be ashamed.  It's pitiful and sad."