Dem Party will ‘wait and see’ on sex harassment claims against Philly sheriff

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams has been accused of sexual misconduct by two women. Philadelphia Democratic Party chairman U.S. Rep. Bob Brady says he's taking a

Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams has been accused of sexual misconduct by two women. Philadelphia Democratic Party chairman U.S. Rep. Bob Brady says he's taking a "wait and see" attitude on the allegations. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

Philadelphia’s Democratic Party is staying out of sexual harassment allegations against the sheriff, said U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, who also leads the city’s Democratic Party.

Sheriff Jewell Williams is the subject of complaints by two women who have worked in his office.

“They are allegations, we hope the allegations are false, and if they become true, we have to make to a decision,” Brady said Wednesday. “But the time to make a decision is not right now.”

Brady said he was unaware of a report that the state Democratic Caucus paid $30,000 to settle a sexual harassment claim against Williams when he was a state representative in Harrisburg. Philly.com reports that complaint was settled in 2012, the same year Williams was sworn into office as sheriff the first time.

As for calls to eliminate the office of sheriff altogether, Brady said the position is necessary and should be kept in place.

Williams, who has maintained his innocence, said he will fight the allegations of the women who have accused Williams of making lewd remarks and sexual come-ons at work.  After they rebuffed his advances, they contend he retaliated against them.

City controller-elect Rebecca Rhynhart issued a statement vowing to initiate a “detailed audit” of the sheriff’s office after she takes office in January. She cited, in part, the harassment allegations as a reason for reviewing the office.

This is an updated story.  A previous version incorrectly stated which Democratic organization made the payment to settle the harassment lawsuit.

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