Accusers claim investigation into former AG aide's alleged harassment was a sham
BATON ROUGE - Accusers who talked to the WBRZ Investigative Unit said they had to speak up after seeing what they described as a "sham investigation" done by an outside law firm to look into the complaints they made against Attorney General Jeff Landry's top aide, Pat Magee.
Magee resigned Thursday. The WBRZ Investigative Unit asked for an interview with the attorney general on Wednesday when we learned another complaint had been lodged against Magee.
"I know personally of half a dozen complaints that were made over a lengthy period of time against Mr. Magee and the behavior that's been condoned in our office," the accuser said.
The woman told WBRZ she first reported problems about Magee to human resources last year. By the end of the year, the AG's office hired Taylor Porter to conduct an independent investigation. Invoices obtained by the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed Taylor Porter billed nearly $6,500 for the investigation. At least six people reported the abuse, but only two were interviewed according to invoices.
While the complaint reports lurid conversations, an agency administrative investigation found Magee's actions to not rise to the level of sexual harassment nor termination.
Instead, investigators previously said they found Magee joked about "firing employees," and used "profanity, sexual slang and unprofessional comments" in conversations with colleagues or others with business at the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.
Vicki Crochet presided over the investigation. She is also the one who was over the 2013 Les Miles sexual harassment investigation that just became public. Les Miles was not fired from LSU, but this week the University of Kansas parted ways with him.
"I'm just stunned that she was engaged to do what would be purported a thorough investigation, and it's a sham," the accuser said. "It's incredibly disheartening as a female and as an employee not to be taken seriously."
Thursday, the Attorney General's Office issued the following statement.
"The Attorney General's Office takes sexual harassment seriously and does not condone it in any way. We treat every complaint with the gravity it deserves. The employee complaint against Mr. Magee was taken seriously. It was independently investigated, discipline was dispensed, and today resignation was accepted. We will continue to take action to ensure our employees have a welcoming work environment conducive to productivity and growth."
In a one-page resignation letter, Magee denies sexually harassing anyone. He said he was resigning as the allegations have become a distraction.
For the alleged victims, Magee was the distraction. They believe the additional complaint led to his departure.
"We are here to stand up for victims and their rights and fight for the right things and do the hard things," the accuser said. "Becoming victims ourselves the way our office has handled this is revictimizing us everyday."
We reached out to Vicki Crochet about this situation. We specifically asked why she only interviewed two of the alleged victims. She referred all questions to the Attorney General's Office and said much of what occurred is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Landry's office issued a statement late Thursday expressing their commitment to fighting sexual harassment.