Wayne Pacelle, the current CEO of the Humane Society, is on thin ice right now after being accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior and making unwanted sexual advances toward donors, subordinates, and even volunteers. Because the Humane Society received complaints from senior female leaders and the organization has identified three complaints already, a law firm was hired to conduct an internal investigation according to the Houston Chronicle. Hopefully, the organization will be able to get to the bottom of these allegations and determine if harassment was in fact occurring.
As part of the investigation, 33 people, including Pacelle have already been interviewed. After speaking with several people, the representing attorneys have found that “there was a perception within the Humane Society that certain women owed their career success to romantic relationships with the chief executive.” The source pointed out that many former leaders of the group had warned Pacelle of his behavior saying that it could, in turn, harm the charity. But, without directly addressing the issue at hand, Pacelle stated that his behavior changed as he has grown older.
Like many of the sexual harassment cases that have come out, those involving Pacelle stem back to many years ago. One woman, who was interning at the time when she was sexually harassed, said that Pacelle asked to meet at a public coffee shop outside of work. During that time, Pacelle allegedly pulled her close, began slow dancing with her, and then gave her an unwanted kiss. Another female who filed a complaint said that she would regularly travel with Pacelle for business-related purposes and would be told by donors of his sexual interest in her. He was even accused of saying that if she were to date him that it would be good for her career.
That same woman recollected back to one work trip in 2006 when Pacelle asked her to stop by his room after they attended an event. He then asked her if he could masturbate in front of her and even requested that she take off her clothes. He offered to perform oral sex on her, but she refused. Pacelle then allegedly told her not to tell anyone of this encounter as it would destroy the Humane Society and cause her to lose her job. The third complaint was from a woman who no longer works for the agency who said that Pacelle passed by her office late one night, started salsa dancing on his own, asking her to join in.
Although Pacelle has denied he engaged in any of the inappropriate behavior described in the complaints, he did say that the third complaint was somewhat accurate. He mentioned that he was having a conversation with the woman and it turned into that, him salsa dancing. While there were some individuals who have worked for Pacelle that defended him against the complaints, “others said the chief executive created a toxic environment at the Humane Society in which workers thought they had to sleep with Pacelle to get ahead, or suspected women who achieved career success of dating him in secret.”
Although Pacelle has refuted these allegations, things aren’t looking too bright for him as the investigation has revealed that there were three settlement payouts in the past, however, the amounts of these payouts were not disclosed.
If you are the victim of sexual misconduct and feel you might have a legitimate case on your hands, contact USAttorneys.com today where you will receive assistance in locating a nearby Houston, TX sexual harassment attorney to help you.