The Louisiana state employee that accused Governor Edwards’ former senior aide, Johnny Anderson, last year speaks out in an interview where she details over a year’s worth of both verbal and physical harassment while working in his office.
The woman in question, Juanita Washington, says that she “experienced more than a year of verbal and physical harassment while working at the governor’s office” which included sexually explicit text messages and demands of sexual favors from the aide as early as her job interview. Washington says throughout her exclusive interview with NOLA.com that she felt as though she was a “hostage” working under Anderson as she needed this job to care for her elderly parents as well as her child who had medical problems and feared losing her main source of income.
While she worked at the governor’s office under Anderson’s supervision, Washington said Anderson regularly sent her sexually explicit text messages, requested naked photos of her, masturbated in front of her and fondled her during private meetings he scheduled during the work day.” – NOLA.com
Washington, Anderson, and the Governor’s office signed a settlement last spring agreeing to pay Washington out for “claims of personal and bodily injury”, which were not disclosed, as well as an agreement that no party involved can make disparaging remarks of one another.
This is not the first time that Anderson has been involved in sexual harassment claims, in 2006 while serving as chairman over the Southern University System Board of Supervisor’s where claims of Anderson sexually harassed as many as nine employees. No one involved with the allegations were willing to cooperate with the investigation into these claims forcing then-Governor Kathleen Blanco to drop the case.
According to NOLA.com, Washington has since returned to her hometown of Atlanta for fear of not being able to find another job in the state following her allegations, however, while recognizing that Anderson she claims that the Governor himself holds some of the blame of what happened.
The Governor’s office has a zero tolerance policy in regards to sexual harassment and requested Anderson’s resignation following the release of these allegations to which they claim he complied with. So far, the number of allegations are up to at least three women.