DeWine Defends Discipline For Employee Who Made Crude Statements Against Women

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15 days before the election and Attorney General Mike DeWine finds himself defending an employee that made harsh statements against women, while his opponent pushes for an independent investigation.

According to records, last year Tim Miller, an assistant attorney general, told a female secretary: "You know you will do your job or you will be smacked."  Then, at a later time, he said:  "You know there is nothing more fun than smacking a woman, that is, except for punching them."

DeWine calls the comments “inappropriate, hurtful and stupid."  “This is handled by our human relations department and it was looked at by several different people who felt the punishment he was given was appropriate,” DeWine told 10TV.

For those comments, Miller received a 5-day working suspension and he is under a probation period.  But he remains on the payroll.

"The comments weren't directed toward any one person in the sense that he said he was going to hurt anybody or hurt the person, but they still were stupid," said DeWine.

DeWine's Democratic opponent David Pepper - and about a dozen women activists - said today that this is just the latest in a string of allegations regarding the treatment of women in DeWine's office.

A sexual harassment case was closed earlier this year after DeWine received the name of a confidential informant believed to have knowledge of an alleged sexual harasser.

"The culprits are still working there, the victims are not," said Pepper.  "Women in that workplace are not respected and in this case they've had horrible things said to them apparently out in the open and nobody does anything about it."

In this new case, a compliance officer had faulted DeWine's office supervisor Tim Lecklider for failing to report Miller's comments.

But Leklider, who is a longtime Dublin elected official, appealed the case and the compliance officer's report was overturned.

Pepper claims it was a cover-up.  "They give an appeal to the person who was found to have done something wrong, and then magically the whole thing goes away" said Pepper.

But DeWine says it was standard office policy.  "We believe in fair process, sorry Mr. Pepper doesn't know what that is," said DeWine.

Lecklider defends himself in a statement to 10TV saying the initial compliance officer report including findings of "faulty logic."