Illinois' St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney created such a hostile work environment that six people reportedly cried during interviews discussing his behavior, which allegedly includes repeated sexual harassment, drinking on the job, mocking a hearing-impaired employee, using racist and vulgar slurs, touching staffers' butts -- and much more.
These accusations have come to light in a bombshell report from St. Clair County Equal Employment Opportunity officer Laura Beasley, who was investigating a complaint from former deputy clerk Laura Romero who alleged sexual harassment, racial discrimination and wrongful termination. Delaney resigned yesterday.
"He has no business holding public office," Tom Kennedy, Romero's attorney, tells Daily RFT. "We can't imagine what it would be like if he hadn't resigned for the people working there. It would've just been torture."
The incredible report, on view below, says that fifteen employees feared they might lose their jobs just because they spoke with the investigator.
"It is clear from the interviews that the St. Clair County Clerk's Office is a difficult work environment due in large part to Mr. Delaney's actions," the report says.
The whole document is worth a read, but here are some of the highlights. (Warning: offensive language ahead!)
Six employees stated Mr. Delaney racially discriminates throughout the office by using such terms as "nigger", "monkey", "fag" and "Croatian cock sucker." Mr. Delaney had also made the comment after the last election that, prior to the next election, he was going to clean house and the first to go are the "Mexicans."
Five employees said they thought their wages were lower and that they were not treated equally because of their race and sex.
Delaney, 54, allegedly harassed an employee with ADHD:
Three employees stated Mr. Delaney purposely made clerk [redacted]'s work more difficult by doing things that he knew would upset Mr. [redacted]'s ADHD.... Six people stated Mr. Delaney had called [redacted] a "cock sucker" during working hours and in front of a room full of election judges.
It gets worse.
Others told the equal employment officer that Delaney "purposely does things to make a hearing-impaired employee's job more difficult."
That apparently includes "using whispering voices to see if this employee could hear the phone call."
Delaney would allegedly approach her from behind and whisper to her, and if she didn't answer would start disparaging her and making "comments regarding her need to get hearing aids."
Four employees said he drank at work.
Then there are more explicit sexual harassment allegations. Four employees said that he made inappropriate comments like "nice rack" and that "he and [said employee] 'should have sex,' and whispering in someone's ear how her haircut 'turns him on.'"
Eleven employees said they were the victims of inappropriate physical contact, including hugging and touching their hips. Seven said that Delaney grabs employees' buttocks while at work. Two said that he has grabbed their breasts. "Thirteen employees have been kissed by Mr. Delaney on the face, cheeks and lips," the report continues.
Continue for more on the accusations, a video interview with Bob Delaney and the full report.
Speaking of Romero, Kennedy says, "She wouldn't allow Delaney to kiss her."
But women who did allow him to grope them and kiss them were rewarded, he says.
Romero, who prompted this whole investigation, was allegedly the victim of much of this inappropriate and harassing behavior outlined in the report.
"We're pretty happy that he resigned," Kennedy, a St. Louis civil rights attorney, tells Daily RFT.
The complaint says that Romero was fired after she made a critical comment about controversial radio host Bob Romanik (the subject of a recent RFT cover story), who apparently has supported or is friendly with Delaney. Shortly after Romero allegedly said that "anyone who goes on that show is stupid," Delany fired her.
Reached today, Delaney's attorney Jim Williams declined to comment to Daily RFT and declined to connect us to Delaney. The now resigned-clerk did, however, address reporters yesterday in Belleville, Illinois, apparently dismissing all the accusations, calling it a "bogus lawsuit" and insinuating that he has become a victim of dirty politics. He's held the job since 1999 (and has worked government positions for decades) and apparently told reporters on his way out that he'll be looking for a new job.
KSDK-TV (Channel 5) has an excerpt here of an interview with Delaney after his resignation.
Delaney apparently was tearful addressing reporters yesterday.
Meanwhile, officials in the county have offered Romero a new job doing tech work in the county sheriff's office, Kennedy tells us.
"The county realized that Ms. Romero was being truthful and accurate," he says, noting that he will now be negotiating back pay and damages on her behalf.
Kennedy says he is surprised and pleased that the county is taking appropriate measures in this case to respond to the serious allegations. "I've got to give them credit.... I believe they are doing the right thing."
Here's the full report.