Westmoreland County Register of Wills Michael Ginsburg is refuting allegations of sexual harassment that were filed earlier this week.
A sexual harassment complaint was filed Monday against Ginsburg, his chief deputy and the county.
Katie Pecarchik, of Jeannette, a deputy clerk in the office since 2003, claimed in documents filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Ginsburg and deputy register Charles Humberger repeatedly engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior toward her.
Ginsburg and Humberger refuted the allegations and said Pecarchik was a disgruntled employee who was an office discipline problem.
“I deny all the allegations, and I look forward to my chance to prove my innocence,” Ginsburg said.
Pecarchik’s lawyer, David Millstein, said his client claims both Ginsburg and Humberger inappropriately touched her and made offensive sexual remarks and derogatory statements about African Americans, Catholics and homosexuals.
“Most of the women in the office have experienced this behavior and are afraid to come forward out of fear of losing their jobs,” Millstein said.
Millstein said Ginsburg and Humberger threatened Pecarchik's job if she made a formal complaint to the county.
Pecarchik is under a doctor's care and has been off work on sick leave for the last six weeks as a result of the harassment, Millstein said.
“Emotionally, she was really struggling with the threats and the harassment. She wants the behavior to stop and for the offending parties to be sanctioned in an appropriate manner,” Millstein said.
The complaints filed on Monday are a precursor to a state or federal lawsuit. A lawsuit can be filed after the two agencies complete an investigation of the allegations, Millstein said.
According to her filing, Pecarchik said she first reported her allegations to county Commissioner Ted Kopas on July 9 and again to the county human resources office on July 16.
Millstein said Westmoreland County conducted an investigation, but neither he nor Pecarchik was told of its results.
Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.