HARRISBURG - A former aide to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane has sued her over wrongful termination, contending he was dismissed in retaliation for recommending the firing of her controversial chief of staff, who had been accused of sexually harassing female colleagues.
George Moore, the office's former human resources analyst, contends in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that Kane terminated him shortly after he recommended that she fire Jonathan Duecker, a confidant whom she was promoting to chief of staff.
Moore also says Kane and Duecker, whom he is also suing, attempted to secretly quash allegations of sexual harassment against Duecker from two female coworkers.
Kane, he alleges, told another top aide that she "needed" Duecker, and inquired what the women "would need to make this go away," according to the lawsuit.
Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo said Kane had not seen the suit and would not comment on it.
Ardo is also being sued by Moore, who said Ardo told news outlets last spring that Moore had been fired "for cause." Moore said that was not true and noted that a year before he was fired, he received an "outstanding" rating for his work.
"He got glowing evaluations," said Moore's lawyer, Patricia V. Pierce, a partner in the Philadelphia-based firm of Greenblatt Pierce Engle Funt & Flores.
According to the lawsuit, Kane promoted Duecker despite a report from her Internal Affairs unit informing her that he had made unwanted sexual advances toward the two women.
One of the women, an assistant prosecutor, said Duecker inappropriately touched her at a bar. The other, an agent, said he entered her bedroom uninvited one evening in a house the Attorney General's Office rented in Hazleton for agents working with the Mobile Street Crimes unit.
Duecker has declined repeated requests for comment.
The Internal Affairs report was given to Kane five days before she announced she was promoting Duecker - and the unit's chief told Moore that Duecker had asked that the report "die on the vine," according to the suit.
Kane, Moore alleges, also told a lawyer for the union that represents agents in the office that she wanted Duecker to remain in the job, and that she would fashion a favorable contract if they helped "make this go away."
As The Inquirer has reported, FBI agents have questioned several people about the alleged incident.
On Monday, Pierce said she would "neither confirm nor deny" that Moore had spoken with federal authorities.
Moore is the second employee fired by Kane to file suit in as many months.
James Barker, the onetime head of the office's appeals division, contends that Kane fired him last spring, just weeks after learning that he had appeared before a grand jury investigating her for allegedly leaking confidential information.
Kane was charged in August with perjury, conspiracy, and other crimes in the matter. She has pleaded not guilty.