East Haven mayor’s secretary charges sexual harassment

East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo (file).

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — East Haven’s Mayor Joe Maturo’s secretary said she was sexually harassed by him.

Filed Monday with the State’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the woman said Maturo would look at her chest and ask, “Seriously, how much do those weigh?” She says oftentimes he grabbed his crotch and said, “This is for you.”

“I questioned her very closely about it and satisfied myself that she was telling the complete and honest truth,” said her attorney, John Williams.

Williams says the most difficult time was when his client said she was bending down to file something away and “He came up behind her and said “While you’re down there….” When she turned around she said he exposed himself.

“The incident where the exposure occurred was obviously a very devastating one,” said Williams.

Maturo declined an interview but said in a statement the allegations are “false” and “salacious.” He said she was a disgruntled employee who was on the verge of being terminated. “I am confident that as this legal process unfolds, further investigation will prove all of [her] allegations to be both unmerited and false,” said Maturo.

Her attorney said, “I’m not surprised that he would deny it and he has every right to have a hearing, and if necessary even a trial, and let that be decided. But for him to say she was on her way out is absolutely false.”

East Haven Maturo Complaint (Link)

Williams said at one point the East Haven’s police chief and town attorney knew about the harassment. “Now, I’m not saying the chief knew about something that was criminal, but he certainly did was aware that there was sexual harassment going on,” Williams said.

He continued, “The city attorney was aware of the Mayor’s propensities. The kinds of comments that he would make which are clearly inappropriate in the workplace and no one seemed to want to do anything about it.”

When asked why she didn’t go to police, Williams said he’s not sure the East Haven police department would be the proper agency to investigate this. He said he wants to keep it a civil case. “Civil courts are the place where people resolve their disputes including over bad conduct. There’s a lot of bad conduct in the world and we can’t be making arrests of everybody. I know there’s a long tradition in East Haven of arresting mayors but I don’t think it’s right,” Williams said.

Maturo said, “Most importantly, I wish to assure the residents of East Haven that my team and I will not allow this matter to deter or distract us from efficiently managing the day-to-day business of the Town.”

When hearing of the allegations, East haven’s Jennifer Barrett said, “That’s in poor taste and completely out of line in my opinion.”

Mark Streeter of East Haven said, “I don’t know. He seemed like a good guy. I thought he was a good guy.”

“If she’s accurate in what she’s saying, then that’s not good for all of us to be led by someone who could do something like that,” said East Haven’s Neil Price.

News 8 reached out to the East Haven police department and they declined to comment. Williams said the town has 30 days to respond to the complaint.

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