Monroe County commissioner steps down after sexual harassment allegations

Local

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — A Monroe County commissioner is stepping down after sexual harassment allegations a co-worker made against her.

The allegations went public two weeks ago and although Amanda Barge quickly suspended her run for Bloomington mayor, on Monday she stepped down as commissioner.

Amanda Barge and Brandon Drake started working together on a grant-funded, addiction-based program in November 2017, which is when Drake said Barge made a pass at him. 

“She said, ‘No I don’t think you understand what I am saying, like I am starting to have a thing for you.’ I was like, ‘I don’t date married women,'” Drake said.

Drake said he thought the issue was over, but Barge didn’t stop. According to him, she continued to make comments that made him feel uncomfortable.

“She would ask me to be with her romantically,” said Drake. “She would tell me she was in love with me. She would also send me text messages saying things she shouldn’t say. “

According to Drake, Barge would verbally attack him when he would deny her passes, “I told her no multiple times and we would get in blow ups about it. Like she just wouldn’t stop .”

Drake said she then would start showing up at his speaking events out of town.

“So it wasn’t just the passes it was the way she was behaving,” he said.

Amanda Barge released a statement stepping down from her position addressing the allegations:

The past two weeks have been difficult for this community. It is with a heavy heart and concern for my family that I resign from my position as County Commissioner, effective midnight, April 15, 2019.

I have struggled mightily with this decision, and how to defend myself from allegations of sexual harassment in a way that is respectful of everyone involved. I call on our community to develop a process by which these allegations – and any similar allegations in the future against other public officials – be investigated and mediated by an independent third party. Such a process could allow Mr. Drake and me to engage in respectful, independently mediated restorative justice.

I am thankful to the voters for this incredible opportunity. It has been an honor to work with the county staff that I have grown to call family and who are the backbone of county government. I am proud of what we accomplished.

“You say did she verbally say it, no. She never verbally said she was going to do it,” said Drake,”but what happened after that was she completely destroyed me. My reputation, my program had no more avenues to go down, and everybody in this community thought that I was unstable and that I had just lost it. That is what she told everybody.”

While Barge never publicly admitted to “sexual harassment,” she did admit to what she called “poor boundaries” during a recorded conversation between herself and Drake.

Drake did not report the alleged harassment to the county because he said his position as a contract worker meant he had no avenues to do so. He claims his contract gave him no protection.

News 8 reached out to Barge but did not hear back. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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