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Shapiro's legislative affairs secretary resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

Shapiro legislative affairs secretary Mike Vereb, who resigned Wednesday amid sexual harassment allegations
David M Warren
File Photograph
The administration didn’t say why Mike Vereb resigned, but he is facing sexual harassment allegations made by a staffer who worked in the legislative affairs office.

Mike Vereb, a former state lawmaker who was Gov. Josh Shapiro’s secretary of legislative affairs, resigned Thursday.

The administration didn’t say why, but Vereb is facing sexual harassment allegations made by a staffer who worked in the legislative affairs office.

In a complaint filed in May with the state Human Relations Commission, obtained by WITF, the woman said she was subjected to offensive and sexually inappropriate comments and conduct in the workplace.

The allegations include that Vereb used “lewd and vulgar sexual references to describe sexual preferences and/or encounters” and used “demeaning and sexually inappropriate language objectifying” her as his “sexual prey,” and that he subjected her to “unwanted sexual advances.”

The complaint alleges, for example, that Vereb tried to create a sexual agreement with the staffer, and at one point told her to “wear lower cut tops and shorten the slits in [her] skirts.”

She alleges she was retaliated against for raising the sexual harassment accusations while still working at the office. She says in her complaint that following the accusations, Vereb began to refer to job “performance concerns,” when he had never before identified any concerns regarding her job performance.

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The woman eventually left the office, and lost her health insurance, she said in a statement to the state bureau of Equal Employment Opportunity Investigations. She said her doctor believes she has post-traumatic stress disorder.

WITF is not naming the staffer because of the nature of the complaint.

Manuel Bonder, press secretary for Shapiro, said the administration does not comment on specific personal matters but takes allegations of harassment and discrimination seriously.

Bonder added that the governor’s office has a policy in place for investigating such complaints.

Vereb, a Republican, has served in the Democratic administration since January. He was a state representative from Montgomery County from 2007-2017. Upon leaving office, he joined Shapiro’s Office of the Attorney General as director of government affairs.

In the announcement of Vereb’s resignation, Shapiro’s Chief of Staff Dana Fritz praised Vereb’s work in the first year of the administration.

As secretary of legislative affairs, Vereb served as a liaison between the Governor’s office and the legislature.

Vereb will be replaced by one of Shapiro’s senior advisors, T.J. Yablonski Jr., who previously served in Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

Yablonski will assume the role on Monday.