A former records clerk for a Georgia district attorney claims she was axed because she broke off their longtime consensual relationship, according to a report.
Cathy Carter, a 58-year-old former clerk and paralegal for Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, claims the married 68-year-old prosecutor committed “unprofessional, unethical and unlawful conduct” by sexually harassing her and getting intimate with her at assorted locations, including inside the district attorney’s office, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Carter made the accusation in a recently filed Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint. She worked for the district attorney’s office for nearly 15 years before her firing in June, the newspaper reports, citing personnel records.
Prior to her termination, Carter had been arrested in Riverdale, Georgia, earlier in the day.
A man told cops she pointed a gun at him and claimed he owed her money, according to a police report.
But Carter insists she actually called police to report the encounter, which led to a charge of assault with a handgun that was later reduced to simple battery, the newspaper reports.
While that charge has yet to be formally settled, an attorney for Howard claims the criminal case led to Carter’s firing rather than her alleged relationship with the district attorney.
“Ms. Carter and her counsel are well aware that she was terminated for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons,” attorney Anita Wallace Thomas told the newspaper.
Carter — who claims she and Howard began their consensual encounters in 2004 — provided the Journal-Constitution with a 21-minute recording from an August 2018 phone call with a man she alleges is Howard.
Carter and the man planned to secretively meet as her boyfriend was away, according to the audiotape, which Howard declined to discuss through his attorney.
“Now that it is clear that counsel for Ms. Carter intends to pursue legal action against Mr. Howard, it would be inappropriate to make further comment regarding her allegations at this time,” Thomas told the newspaper.
Carter claims she enjoyed preferential treatment from Howard throughout their affair, but saw those perks disappear once she broke things off. She was then disciplined regularly and lost responsibilities prior to being placed on probation and ultimately fired, the newspaper reports.
“There was no investigation and not even a statement taken from me by Mr. Howard or anyone,” Carter said. “I simply received a box on my doorstep with belongings.”
An EEOC spokeswoman declined to comment when reached Friday.
“Under federal law, possible charges (complaints) made to the EEOC are strictly confidential, and we are prohibited from commenting on them, furnishing any information on them, or even confirming or denying the existence of a charge,” spokeswoman Kimberley Smith-Brown wrote in an email. “Only when and if we file suit — usually a last resort after other outcomes are attempted — are we allowed to furnish any information.”
The agency, however, has assigned a case number to Carter’s complaint, indicating that an investigation into her claims is underway, the Journal-Constitution reports.
Carter is the second woman in the past three months to file EEOC complaints alleging they were sexually harassed by Howard. In December, former human resources director Tisa Grimes accused Howard of making unwanted comments toward her and touching her without consent.
Grimes said she was demoted and reassigned to another county agency after rebuffing advances from Howard, who has denied those accusations, the newspaper reports.
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