Lenny Dykstra responds to claim he sexually harassed professor on Fox News set

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Former Phillies All-Star Lenny Dykstra responded to claims by Occidental College professor Caroline Heldman that he sexually harassed her on the set of Fox News.

A professor and former Fox News guest who has accused host Eric Bolling of sexually harassing her says she was also harassed by former Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra, a fellow guest on the network.

Dykstra’s name came up in a Facebook post by Caroline Heldman, an Occidental College politics professor, who has claimed Bolling sexually harassed her during multiple appearances on Fox News. Heldman also accuses former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and former Fox News consultant Woody Fraser of similar bad behavior and says guests on the network “are also part of the problem.”

“On March 20, 2011, Lenny Dykstra persistently asked me to a party and told me that he gets ‘sexually aroused when I talk politics,’” Heldman claimed in the Facebook post. “He also harassed the makeup artist who was curling my hair at the time.”

Heldman told Philly.com that the incident took place in the Fox bureau in Los Angeles, and claimed Dykstra “seemed high” during the encounter. Heldman said after she and the makeup artist both refused Dykstra’s offer, the former baseball star grabbed her wrist and said inappropriate comments about women were normal for him.

“I’m a trained martial artist, and it took a lot of self-control not to respond to his physical violence in kind,” Heldman said. “Instead, I broke the wrist grab and told him to leave.”

The 54-year-old Dykstra, who used to appear on Fox News and Fox Business often to promote his investment company, Nails Investments, said he doesn’t remember Heldman off the top of his head but doesn’t doubt her claims.

“She’s just one of many, dude. She got to get on the space shuttle,” Dykstra said. He contended that the professor was trying to get publicity off him, but admitted that he found political talk from an attractive woman “sexually arousing.”

“Mr. Dykstra is absolutely wrong that my coming forward is about getting attention,” Heldman said. “This is about using my voice to stand in truth on behalf of women and men who have faced similar circumstances and are not able to come forward.”

Dykstra also defended Bolling, who is accused of sending lewd photos and messages to at least three female coworkers at Fox News and Fox Business. Fox News suspended Bolling last week pending the results of an investigation being conducted by a law firm retained by parent company 21st Century Fox to investigate claims of sexual harassment at the network.

On Wednesday night, Bolling sued Huffington Post contributing writer Yashar Ali, the reporter who broke the story. In the $50 million defamation lawsuit, Bolling accused Ali of attempting to damage his reputation by the “highly reckless publication of actionable false and misleading statements about the plaintiff’s conduct and character.”

“Bolling is a good dude, a stand-up guy,” Dykstra said. “He’s smart, great, and it’s hard to imagine him sending photos or whatever. But I can’t speak intelligently about that.”

During a March 31, 2011, appearance on Fox Business, around the time Heldman says Dykstra harassed her, Bolling referred to the former Phillies great as his “old friend, good friend” during a segment on Follow the Money in which Dykstra promoted a failed business effort to help people from losing their homes. Dykstra would later serve 6½ months of a three-year prison sentence following no-contest pleas to offenses that included grand theft auto, bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges.

Dykstra hasn’t been bashful talking about his sexual exploits. Last year, while promoting his tell-all autobiography, House of Nails, Dykstra boasted on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show that he had several elderly clients who pay him for “companionship,” asserting that the relationships were more about intimacy than sex.

Despite his blunt comments about women, Dykstra has tried to get his life in order in recent years. In an interview with my colleague Frank Fitzpatrick in June, the former All-Star opened up about his addictions to money, sex and drugs and the toll they had taken.

“My first chapter couldn’t have gone better,” Dykstra said, “the big leagues and the money. The second chapter, that was rough. My third chapter hasn’t been written yet. I still haven’t decided what my epitaph’s going to be.”