FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) – An elected official for the city of Frederick, Md. was accused of “sexual harassment, unwelcome advances, coercion and quid pro quo offers” in a Facebook post made by a fellow board member Saturday afternoon.
Frederick City Alderman Ben MacShane called out Alderman Roger Wilson after MacShane was “notified this week of credible reports of years of widespread misconduct,” the Facebook post says. MacShane also called for Wilson’s resignation.
“The people of Frederick expect, and deserve, public servants who treat all people with respect and can be trusted to act for the good of the community,” MacShane said. “Roger Wilson has violated the public trust and abused the power of his office.”
Several hours after the allegations were made public, Wilson issued a statement to WDVM responding to the allegations.
“I was made aware of these allegations an hour before they were posted while in the car, on speakerphone, with my daughters on the day after Christmas. These allegations are false, and in my 20 plus years of working in both the public and private sectors, I have never had a harassment complaint filed against me,” said Wilson in an email.
Alderman Wilson has worked in Frederick County Government for over 6 years and was elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2017.
Alderman MacShane said he believes the women who shared their experiences with him and would respect their privacy.
“People who come forward to report sexual misconduct by men in power are often criticized, disbelieved, and (re)traumatized,” MacShane said. “Our systems of justice and accountability have failed women too many times.”
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor issued a statement Saturday evening, saying the allegations are serious and “do not keep the values and standards of The City of Frederick.”
“At this time, I am working with the City’s relevant departments to ensure we can support those impacted and our community as this situation evolves,” O’Connor said. “I stand with those who recognize that such behavior has never been and never will be appropriate or acceptable.”
In response to Mayor O’Connor and Alderman MacShane, Wilson said, “without due process or investigation, Alderman Ben McShane and Mayor Michael O’Connor released statements that suggested that I had inappropriately engaged with members of the community in a way that abused the position that I hold in high regard.”
“I am requesting that The City of Frederick Legal and Human Resources Department conduct a thorough investigation immediately into these slanderous allegations. And, that the city of Frederick shares with myself and my counsel, the charges and any evidence of wrongdoing for which I have been accused,” Wilson said.
Wilson believes the post was politically motivated, saying he has “no doubt that this was done as a political move to undermine my accomplishments as Alderman as well as my subsequent announcement on January 15th to run for mayor of Frederick. We as a city are better than this and I will fully defend my honor against these false allegations. “