RALEIGH, N.C. -- A former staffer accused North Carolina's state Democratic Party executive director of showing him a picture of male genitals, caressing his leg and discussing his sexual exploits, according to new documents obtained by The News & Observer.
The sexual harassment allegations are detailed in a Dec. 8 letter from Adriadn Ortega, a former party staffer, to then-Executive Director Jay Parmley. Ortega claimed he was fired in retaliation for my complaints of sexual harassment and asked for a severance equal to his annual pay and health care coverage for a year.
His allegations match those detailed in a complaint filed Jan. 31 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission obtained by The N&O. The EEOC complaint stated that Ortega tracked the alleged harassment in a notebook.
Ortega, 26, did not respond to questions. Parmley, 41, could not be reached for comment. He resigned Sunday but denied harassing any employee. He blamed political reasons for his departure.
The lascivious details magnified the spectacle embarrassing the state Democratic Party in an election year and came just days before President Barack Obama is expected to visit North Carolina.
The letter became public minutes after party Chairman David Parker refused to resign under pressure from party leaders, including Gov. Bev Perdue, who asked him to step aside for the good of the party. In a statement, Parker said he had the strong support of the partys executive council.
They have consulted with our party attorney and are clearly as satisfied as I am that there was no cover up and that the personnel matter was professionally and appropriately handled by the partys attorney, according to his statement.
He called for a referendum June 17 on his chairmanship.
Perdue called Parkers plan totally unacceptable and his top deputy, First Vice-Chair Gwen Wilkins, said Parker didnt have the support of all executive council members. The chairman needs to go, Perdue said in a statement Wednesday evening.
As chairman, Parker authorized a settlement agreement with Ortega. Its unclear whether the terms of the severance Ortega put forth in the letter were met, but party officials confirmed the agreements existence. The settlement includes a confidentiality agreement, which Ortega wrote in his letter that he would willingly sign.
Parker could not be reached for comment.
In the letter, Ortega says Parmley:
Frequently gave him unwanted shoulder rubs despite verbal objections.
Pointed to his crotch area and asked how his crotch looked in his pants.
On July 28, detailed his past sexual activities.
On July 29, showed Ortega a picture of a penis.
On Sept. 6, caressed Ortegas leg as they drove back from a Democratic convention kick-off in Charlotte.
In the letter, Ortega writes that he confronted Parmley on Oct. 1 and met two days later with former party Executive Director Scott Falmlen to discuss the situation. Falmlen recalled the conversation, but he said Ortega didnt share the salacious specifics I have seen for the first time tonight.
In the EEOC complaint, Ortega said he was no longer harassed after the meeting. But he was fired Nov. 21.
In his letter, he defended his work as a tracker, a party operative who follows candidates from the other party and takes video of their speeches.