(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A state lawmaker accused of sexual harassment says he will not resign from his seat, despite calls from leading members of his party to step down.
House representative Duane Hall (D-Wake) denies the allegations reported last week by NC Policy Watch – a part of the N.C. Justice Center, a progressive advocacy group in Raleigh. In a late Sunday night phone conversation with WUNC, Hall again denied the allegations laid out in the original story, and said he believes it stems from a personal relationship. The Justice Center stood by its reporting.
"The father of my ex-girlfriend is the executive director of NC Policy Watch," Hall said, referring to Megan Glazier, the daughter of Rick Glazier. "They worked on the story for months and released on the last day of primary filing, with unnamed sources. They have a journalistic obligation to disclose those personal conflicts, but did not. There is a big difference between reporting a story, and creating a story."
Hall went on to call the story, "a personal vendetta."
On Monday afternoon, Rick Glazier released a statement standing by the reporting. He said he would not normally comment on the personal lives of employees, but made an exception in this case becuase of the allegations about the reporting.
"Reports detailing allegations against Rep. Duane Hall were part of an entirely independent journalistic investigation by NC Policy Watch. They were not asked to make such an investigation, and the content was in no way influenced by staff, management or otherwise – any judgment calls were made solely by the editorial team," according to his statement. "Indeed, reporting was underway for well over a year before any staff outside of Policy Watch were made aware of the story."
In a separate blog post, Rob Schofield, Director of NC Policy Watch, also stood by the reporting. "NC Policy Watch reported last week on the allegations made by several women and other witnesses that State Rep. Duane Hall of Wake County had committed a series of inappropriate sexual advances toward women while serving in the General Assembly," he wrote. "All told, seven separate sources told reporter Billy Ball stories of persistent sexual innuendo and, in some instances, unwanted sexual overtures."
In addition to the interview with WUNC, Hall also released a statement: "I can't resign from my reputation which I will defend and I won't resign from my seat because of anonymous false accusations. I won't run away so a tiny far left element of my party can finish their attack and install a person of their choosing in House Seat District 11 without a vote of the people. Being a prominent centrist Democrat who can work with everyone has never been an easy path."
After the story published Wednesday afternoon, leading Democrats, including the Governor, called on Hall to resign.
On Friday, Schofield told WUNC that the story speaks for itself and that the reporter did a "marvelous job." He also said it was noteworthy there were so many immediate calls for Hall to resign.
Hall is in his third term in the North Carolina House and has shared aspirations of running for Lt. Governor in 2020. Hall said his future service is now in the hands of Democratic voters, during the May 8th primary.