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Former staffer sues attorney general's office in wake of sexual harassment scandal

2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago Thursday, November 11 2021 Nov 11, 2021 November 11, 2021 6:53 PM November 11, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Former Assistant Attorney General Matthew Derbes is suing his former boss six months after quitting his job and publicly alleging sexual harassment claims went unaddressed in the Louisiana Attorney General's Office.

The lawsuit filed Nov. 5 against Attorney General Jeff Landry claims Derbes was stonewalled when he tried to report a high-ranking aide's inappropriate behavior toward female coworkers.

In December 2020, when the media began requesting records of the harassment alleged of Patrick Magee, formerly a top aide to the attorney general, Derbes claims Landry's office would "deliberately mischaracterize the complaints against Magee such that the media's public records request would then be denied." The suit alleges those complaints were recategorized as "management issues" to keep them out of the hands of news outlets.

When Derbes went public with his complaints, he said the AG's office tried to defame him.

"Defendant, through defendant's Human Resources Director Schober, caused to be publicly released a false document accusing Petitioner [Derbes] of lying, shirking his responsibilities, filing false public records, and filing false complaints of sexual harassment," the suit read in part. 

As reported by the WBRZ Investigative Unit, Magee submitted his letter of resignation in March of 2021 after being placed on leave for his "offensive office jokes" just a few months prior. 

The suit goes on to allege that Derbes was denied a promotion in March, just a month before he announced his resignation, because of his open opposition to how the agency handled the sexual harassment claims.

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