HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — abc27 News asked Governor Shapiro two questions regarding the sexual harassment allegations against one of his top aides.
When did Governor Shapiro first learn about the sexual harassment allegations, and what does he think about potential bills — that would prohibit the kind of non-disclosure agreement reached in this situation?
“We want to know when the governor knew,” Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) said.
About allegations dating back to March that former Legislative Affairs Secretary Mike Vereb sexually harassed a woman who worked in the administration. So we asked the governor.
“Seth, all I can say about the settlement is what’s in the public domain,” Shapiro said. “And I really can’t comment beyond that, as I know you know.”
Because of a non-disclosure agreement that’s part of this settlement. The governor’s office paid out nearly $300,000 to settle the allegations against Vereb – nearly $200,000 to the woman and nearly another $50,000 each to two law firms.
“Myself and a few other house members are looking at ways we can fix the system, changes we can make, to – one – make the process more transparent and – two – protect women who work at the capital from men like this, men who act this way,” State Rep. Abby Major (R-Westmoreland and Armstrong) said.
“Certainly if others have ideas about how that can be strengthened across the board – for the legislature and the executive branch – I’d certainly be willing to take a careful look at that,” Shapiro said.
A previous movement that stalled earlier this year, designed to hold elected legislators more accountable – after State Rep. Mike Zabel resigned, facing harassment allegations of his own.
“Gotta keep our own house in order if we’re going to criticize the governor,” Major said.
“I don’t think it’s acceptable in any branch of government,” Phillips-Hill said. “And I think we have a responsibility to address the situation in the executive branch because this is what has been brought forward to us.”
None of those potential bills we’ve heard about have formally been introduced yet, but abc27 News will let you know when they are.