Harassment And Assault Allegations Still Mounting In PA Capitol

Jan 5, 2018

Recent allegations suggest sexual harassment is part of the "culture of silence" in Harrisburg, LNP Media reports.

In the past month, Gov. Tom Wolf has asked two state lawmakers to resign, a former state senator quit his post as State Fire Commissioner and the Senate Security Officer resigned. The AP reported this week that another 339 reports of alleged harassment were fielded by Pennsylvania state government agencies over a five-year period, resulting in millions of payouts using taxpayer dollars. And all this comes amid a separate wave of Capitol reporters nationwide sharing their own experiences with harassment and assault.

Legislation is pending that would prevent non-disclosure agreements around payments, but will it pass? Mark Scolforo, reporter for the Associated Press in Harrisburg, joins Paula Knudsen, an investigative reporter for The Caucus, the weekly print-only LNP newspaper covering state government and politics, to catch us up.

Next in the program...

The ACLU is representing Jules Williams, who identifies as transgender, in a federal lawsuit against the Allegheny County Jail and its administration. They're claiming officials allowed Williams to be repeatedly sexually abused by male inmates while incarcerated under the incorrect gender identity.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Ben Schmitt spoke at length to Williams following her announcement to pursue a lawsuit.

And finally...

Frigid temperatures as cold as -30 moved across the East Coast this week in the fallout from a massive winter storm. The icy weather prompted Pittsburgh Marathon officials to delay the start of their season-opening run this weekend, and may push some downtowners out of the elements completely. Restaurants offering hearty menus, meanwhile, may benefit most of all.

Hal B. Klein, who covers restaurants and the food scene for Pittsburgh Magazine; Rossilynne Culgan, culture editor for The Incline; and reporter Gretchen McKay with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, talk about how they stay warm when Snow Miser does his worst.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region.

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