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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Gov. Edwards, Louisiana lawmakers call for resignation of Sec. of State Tom Schedler

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
  • Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling for the "immediate" resignation of Secretary of State Tom Schedler a week after Schedler was accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by a woman who works in that office.

"Elected officials must live by an even higher standard," Edwards said in a statement. "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.”

Edwards joins several Louisiana lawmakers and the leader of the state's Democratic party urging Schedler's resignation after a lawsuit says Schedler harassed a woman over more than a decade while working in the Secretary of State's office.

According to a lawsuit filed Feb. 22, Schedler created a "sexually hostile and abusive working environment" in which Schedler made repeated advances towards an employee and retaliated against her for rejecting him. Schedler has stated that he had a consensual relationship with the woman; her attorneys deny that.

Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk said Schedler, a Republican, "either needs to clear his name or step down. It’s deeply troubling that he isn’t denying the allegations and is still holding his position. This is beyond party politics."

Republican state Sen. Sharon Hewitt said Schedler's "admission of an inappropriate relationship with a state worker that reported to him is indefensible."

"I’ve reached the conclusion that Secretary Schedler can no longer be an effective leader or role model for our state," she said in a statement. "In the coming days, I hope that he too will reach the same conclusion and consider stepping down.”

State Sens. Karen Carter Peterson and Regina Barrow also have called for Schedler's resignation. State Rep. Helena Moreno added her voice to the calls for Schedler's resignation Wednesday afternoon.

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