Rod Risley, the former long-term director of Jackson-based honor society Phi Theta Kappa, has retired amidst allegations of sexual harassment against him. Apparently, unlike Barney Frank, he knows when he messed up and is willing to admit it. According to The Clarion-Ledger, Risley stepped down from his position as director of Phi Theta Kappa on last week.

He had previously been in the news for all the wrong reasons as two female ex-student officers had lodged complaints through their sexual harassment attorney accusing him of making unwanted sexual advances towards them on more than one occasion. This does not mean he actually did it but the best sexual harassment attorneys on this glorious legal website will advise anyone in this situation that they should seek counsel.

Prior to the resignation, Rod Risley was on administrative leave as a private law firm, Latham and Watkins, was investigating the accusations against him. The law firm was hired to initiate a probe into the matter by other Phi Theta Kappa authorities. However, it seems like the public will never conclusively know if Risley was guilty of his accusations or not as the law firm has discontinued the investigation since Risley retired. When reached for comment, they said the investigation was called off as Risley was no longer a member or employee of Phi Theta Kappa.


The allegations against Rod Risley

The two women that rang the alarm bells against Risley are Toni Marek from Texas and Rachel Reeck from Wisconsin. Both women worked terms as international vice presidents for their respective departments in Phi Theta Kappa from May 2013 to April 2014. Marek and Reeck have made similar allegations against Risley. This includes include inappropriate touching, provocative comments, and even blackmail.

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Retaliation against female victim of sexual harassment

Furthermore, Marek claims that she was retaliated against by Risley and the honor society as well for rejecting sexual advances from Risley. The retaliation came in the form of them forcing her to either resign or be suspended. After her rather hesitant resignation, contradictory to what they had told her, the honor society proceeded to remove Risley’s name from their website and other references, and completely erased her and her work from the society’s history permanently.

Marek had filed a sexual harassment complaint in the Southern District of Texas through her sexual harassment attorney which named both Risley and Phi Theta Kappa itself as defendants. However, the court rejected the lawsuit citing that Marek was not officially an employee of the Society as she was not being paid any salary or wages for her work.

A better future

Both women spoke to media and said in an interview that the main motive for them coming forward and complaining against the harassment was to raise awareness. Most importantly, the objective was to ensure that the organization would be forced to revise their harassment policies and strive for more transparency to make sure that what happened to them would not happen to someone else in the future.

Risley and his legal team could not be reached as calls made to them went unanswered and they have not replied to any of the messages or requests seeking comment. However, Risley did direct questions about his retirement to a letter that he had sent to Phi Theta Kappa staff where he mentions that the retirement was a consequence of the allegations and it was something he was discussing and contemplating with the board for four years now.