City fires back at sexual harassment claim

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is blasting claims made by a former city council aide in a federal discrimination complaint. Jennifer Walle alleges she was sexually harassed on the job and that the city mishandled the investigation.

The city denied the claims today, releasing a 40-page response to the allegations. The investigation was conducted by a law firm out of Norfolk. It's based on interviews with city employees. Walle did not participate

Walle is the former aide to city council member Bruce Tyler. She alleges, that the top aide to city council president Kathy Graziano, David Hathcock, grabbed her, pulled her onto a chair and tried to kiss her in City Hall last year.

She also claims, when she tried to report what happened to Graziano, she says Graziano told her she could either quit or deal with it.

But in the 40 page report, the city "denies the allegations"and says Walle told "varying" and "inconsistent" statements. The city argues for a dismissal of the complaint, which is being reviewed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Walle's attorney, Hayden Fisher, blasted the document today, calling it "one-sided" and said it was "disgusting, absolutely disgusting, to see that to know how much money they paid to have that done. and it's riddled with falsehoods."

Both David Hathcock and Kathy Graziano have denied the allegations. The EEOC is expected to rule by the end of the year. Walle plans to file another complaint in regards to her termination from her job at City Hall.

The real fireworks are expected next month when a judge will hear evidence in the $500,000 civil lawsuit filed by Walle against Graziano and Hathcock.

City council member may have testify in the August hearing to determine whether the suit against Graziano will go forward, or it she's protected by sovereign immunity.

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