A former press aide to Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold plans to file a formal complaint with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations this week alleging that he harassed her, her attorney said.
John Singleton, an Owings Mills attorney who represents the former employee, Karla Hamner, estimated that she would be seeking about $200,000 in back pay and other damages.
Hamner, who worked for the county executive for nearly a year before transferring to another job and then being let go in September 2008, would be the second government employee to file a complaint against Leopold. An employee of the state Department of Human Resources has alleged that Leopold made unwanted advances toward her.
"I know of other women who have had similar harassment issues with him, and they are all just too afraid to come forward, and that's why I am doing this," Hamner said in an interview.
Hamner said that Leopold frequently told her to keep her hair out of her face, which she took as a joke at first. But last April, she said, he grabbed her arms and yelled at her to look at him and again told her to get her hair out of her face. She said she began to have nightmares, worrying about another possible confrontation.
She said she discussed the situation with a supervisor but nothing happened and soon afterward she was stripped of her work duties. She has since moved to Hot Springs, Ark.
Leopold has denied any wrongdoing, characterizing the recent accusations as "outrageous" and an attempt to damage his political career.
"The county executive has yet to see any formal complaints, and of course he will cooperate with any formal investigation," spokesman David Abrams said. "But he maintains he has not harassed anyone."
The NAACP is seeking a special inquiry by the state prosecutor's office into the state employee's claim and talking with a third potential complainant against Leopold.