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Federal agency investigates sexual harassment complaint by St. Louis County employee

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating a complaint filed by a St. Louis County employee claiming inappropriate behavior by several county officials and employees.

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating a complaint filed by a St. Louis County employee claiming inappropriate behavior by several county officials and employees.

Martha Watson, St. Louis County Human Resources director, confirmed the investigation today but said federal law prohibits her from disclosing any details of the case.

The federal agency has contacted the county to inform them of the allegations and pending investigation, but the EEOC so far has not requested a formal response form the county, Watson said.

In the meantime, Watson said she has initiated an internal county investigation. The EEOC will not comment on active cases.

The complaint names the county as the defendant but names several people having been involved. It has been disclosed that County Commissioner Dennis Fink of Duluth is one of the people named in the allegations.

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"That's what I understand, but I'm not privy to the complaint,'' Fink said. "It sounds like a dozen or so people are named in this one.''

In 2007, two separate complaints were filed by separate county employees against Fink and Commissioner Steve Raukar of Hibbing. Those complaints and investigations were internal to the county and ended with no action against either commissioner. Commissioners did adopt changes to county harassment policy, however, and the complainants were reassigned other duties to eliminate their contact with Raukar and Fink.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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