Philadelphia City Controller releases report on government sexual misconduct

- Philadelphia City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart has released a concerning report indicating the extent of sexual misconduct among city government officials.

The City Controller spoke about specific issues in sexual misconduct including elected official Sheriff Jewell Williams. She said the Sheriff has been “credibly accused of sexual harassment” yet he remains on the job and in control of the case against him.

Including Sheriff Williams, Philadelphia Police Force Chief Inspector has also been accused. He is reported earning $153 thousand dollars yearly and will cost taxpayers 1.25 million to settle his sexual harassment claim.

This is why Rhynhart believes there's a need for reform of the city's sexual harassment policies, and why she and the Mayor had a meeting on Thursday to further discus this problem.

“I want to work towards making sure that all employees feel safe and supported and that's going to require real change,” said Rhynhart.

Mayor Jim Kenney is in support of Rhynhart saying, “It takes a lot of courage to come forward, to make an allegation, and put yourself out there.”

From July of 2012 through April of 2018, 121 city workers made sexual misconduct claims against colleagues, according to the new audit. Of these cases, 63 were substantiated, and 2.2 million dollars of taxpayers money was spent in settlements, a figure Rhynhart says is likely far higher. Records show only 4 city workers were removed.

“They shouldn't be paid to work for the city if they are harassing their employees,” said Rhynhart.

Admitting there was much more to do, the Controller says if it were up to her, Sheriff Williams would be removed from his position.

Mayor Kenney signed an executive order his staff says "reaffirms" the city will not tolerate sexual harassment, updated its policy and offered an online complaint form.

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