Anyone following Ohio politics in 2008 will remember the swift and sudden end to then-Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann’s political career over the adulterous and lecherous “hostile work environment” he created in the AG’s Office.
Once it became public that Dann had been cheating on his wife with one of his employees, and Dann’s long-time friend and AG employee Anthony Guitierz was harrassing women in Dann’s office, Democrats from around Ohio came together with Governor Strickland and state party leaders to call for Dann to go.
Within a week, AG Dann had resigned and his temporary, Strickland-appointed replacement, Nancy Rogers, set about to prevent a recurrence of Dann’s disturbing debauchery. Sadly, current Ohio A.G. Mike DeWine is now dismantling some of the safeguards put into place by A.G. Rogers. Even worse, it appears some of DeWine’s changes may have been initiated in response to a sexual harassment investigation involving an old friend of DeWine who now works in his office.
One of the big changes Rogers implemented was the hiring of an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Compliance Officer, and the writing of new policy guidelines requiring the EEO officer to be involved in the investigation of sexual harassment claims in the AG’s office. (The policy in place as of October 2014 specifically names the EEO Compliance Officer as the primary contact and investigator responsible for handling harassment or discrimination complaints and requires that “any complaint of harassment or discrimination that is received by a supervisor or a manager should be submitted to the EEO Compliance Officer.” It also recommends disciplinary action against any AG office employee who “ interferes with, or fails to cooperate with any investigation.”
AG Rogers appointed Kristine Cadek to the job of EEO Compliance Officer. Ms. Cadek served in the same position under Rogers then A.G. Rich Cordray and then current-AG Mike DeWine. Her personnel records show she received an exceptional review and a raise in late 2013.
One year later, the position of EEO Compliance Officer quietly disappeared from the AG’s office when Ms. Cadek was suddenly transferred to a new job on November 14th, 2014 and the position was not refilled.
We can make a pretty good guess why.
Earlier in the year, Cadek investigated a sexual harassment claim from an office intern who claimed she received unwanted advances from an older staff member who was a “personal friend” with Mike DeWine. And one of those questioned was DeWine’s old friend Bill Schenk.
Schenk and DeWine have been friends for decades. They worked together in the Greene County Prosecutors office and later went into private law practice together. When Schenk got his second DUI while working for DeWine, good ol’ Mike refused to let him go.
Sadly we’ll likely never know if it was Schenk or another “personal friend” of DeWine who was accused of sexual harassment because the investigation came to a quick end when, as the Sandusky Register reported, DeWine insisted Cadek “give him the name of a confidential source who provided information about the ‘accused’s identity’.” The investigation ended three days later.
No harassment charges were filed against Schenk or anyone else in DeWine’s office . But DeWine did ask fellow Republican Ron O’Brien, the Franklin County Prosecutor, to consider felony charges against Cadek for the way in which she obtained photos used in the investigation. O’Brien refused to bring any charges.
We reached out to DeWine’s office about Cadek’s transfer and AGO Spokesperson Dan Tierney provided this response:
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has focused resources in this area since Ms. Cadek’s transfer to Crime Victim Services. Our office has an entire staff in Human Resources to assist employees, including a new Manager of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives. The Attorney General’s Office also has several internal staff experienced in conducting internal investigations and an active outside counsel engagement for independent EEO investigations when necessary.