Four anonymous women – identifying themselves as Schuylkill County employees – have filed a bombshell sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the County itself, Commissioner George Halcovage, and several other government officials.
In short, the women say they were pressured politically and sexually, to act in the best interest of saving their jobs by County Commissioner George Halcovage. The biggest bombshell – of literally hundreds in the lawsuit – alleges Halcovage forced one of the women to perform oral sex on him several times.
Further, several other county officials are named as defendants in the lawsuit for failing to do anything to stop Halcovage’s alleged unwanted advances.
In all, the defendants in this lawsuit are:
- Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage
- Schuylkill County Solicitor Glenn Roth
- Schuylkill County Administrator Gary Bender
- Interim HR Director Doreen Kutzler
- Current HR Director Heidi Zula
The lawsuit was filed on March 16 in US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit demands a jury trial and seeks damages on several grounds.
4 Schuylkill County Courthouse Employees File Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Lawsuit Against Halcovage, County Officials
The 4 women are not identified by name in the 75-page lawsuit. Instead, they’re called Jane Doe, Jane Doe 2, Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4. They each say their identity must be protected “due to the extreme hardship such revelation of her identity would cause and the need to protect victims of sexual crimes.”
In it, each woman alleges in detail how Halcovage made unwanted sexual advances – including forcing one of the defendants to perform oral on him – told inappropriate jokes and made inappropriate comments, and forced them to perform work for the Republican Party and for his campaigns, including during times they were supposed to be working for the County.
The lawsuit lays out literally hundreds of allegations against Halcovage and other county officials and employees who either acted inappropriately or did nothing to stop those things from happening. Some of the accusations date back nearly 10 years, when one of the women was first hired by the County government. And the women say in their lawsuit that the items listed in the court papers are just some of the wrongdoing that happened at the courthouse.
The women say they went along with Halcovage’s advances and comments because they feared for their jobs.
“Plaintiff Doe was fearful of retaliation and reprisal if she were to oppose (Halcovage’s) unlawful conduct,” the lawsuit reads. “Halcovage, through his words and behavior, had made it evident that he was a powerful man in the Republican Party and in Schuylkill County. A single mother, Plaintiff Doe could not afford to lose her job and health benefits should defendants retaliate in the form of termination.”
Sex Allegations Against Halcovage
The lawsuit alleges in some detail the unwanted sexual advances Halcovage allegedly made toward the defendant identified as Jane Doe.
It all started when Doe was hired in 2014. She was apparently assigned to the mail room on a part-time basis. When she was brought on, Halcovage allegedly made regular visits to the mail room.
Doe’s co-workers noticed this and told her, “If you want a full-time position, speak with George. He is a sucker for pretty girls.”
Doe says the Commissioner then started making comments about her appearance, often using dated phrases like:
- “You’re so beautiful.”
- “You’re so gorgeous. I bet everyone tells you that.”
- “You are really a knock-out.”
- “You are a very beautiful woman.”
- “You are a jaw dropper.”
Doe apparently got that full-time promotion and with it came more sexual harassment and allegations of a sexual assault.
“Halcovage would come into Plaintiff Doe’s office during business hours and would sit in the chair directly across from Plaintiff Doe,” the suit alleges. “Halcovage would then look at Doe and with piercing eyes and a grin on his look Doe up and down in a sexual manner and then shake his head, as if approving of her physical appearance.”
The suit alleges Halcovage would call Doe into his office “just to stare at Doe.”
Flirting Becomes Physical
But then the advances became physical, Doe alleges in the lawsuit.
It appears, based on the timelines outlined in the lawsuit, the first incident occurred back in 2015. In March of that year, Halcovage asked Doe and Doe 2 to attend a political fundraiser. Halcovage offered to drive Doe to her house. When they arrived at her house, the lawsuit alleges the Commissioner “began aggressively and inappropriately flirting with Doe and became verbally and physically affectionate.”
Halcovage allegedly began kissing Doe and during the course of this activity, he unzipped his pants and exposed his penis to her. He was apparently urging Doe to perform oral sex on him, and she obliged, begrudgingly.
This wasn’t the only time Halcovage is accused of getting physically and sexually aggressive with Doe.
In other incidents, the lawsuit reads: “Halcovage would pull Doe into the boardroom in the Courthouse, lock the door, and begin kissing her,” it reads, noting that this happened numerous times.
Doe claims she repeatedly tried to fend off the Commissioner’s advances. But Halcovage allegedly persisted, including sending her gifts like a necklace, massage oil, cash, and condoms. He allegedly had wine sent to her home, too.
The suit also alleges Halcovage hid in a closet and watched Doe conduct her work for the County government. He even followed Doe to Harrisburg on one occasion to observe her attend a licensing course. Halcovage watched her through a large glass window at that course, the suit alleges.
Things allegedly went further in 2018. That’s when, at some point that year, Halcovage called Doe to Schuylkill County Courthouse on a weekend, when it was closed to the public. Reluctantly, the suit claims, Doe agreed and went to the Courthouse.
Once there, Halcovage “whisked her into the building and pulled her into the tax filing room.”
Doe says Halcovage began kissing her and then started pushing her down toward the floor. At the same time, Halcovage allegedly forced Doe’s head toward his crotch while he unzipped his pants and exposed his penis. He then allegedly forced Doe to perform oral sex on him.
Doe – “disgusted and distraught” – “got up and ran from the Courthouse.”
The Holiday Party
In another incident, in December 2018, Halcovage again allegedly forced Doe to perform oral sex on him, this time at a lunchroom where a holiday party was being held. The sex act continued “until she became physically distraught,” the lawsuit alleges.
The advances continued despite these incidents. The lawsuit claims the acts “had become severe and pervasive” and claims Halcovage “frequently touched Doe without her consent and inappropriate and unprofessional ways.”
These sexual advances and innuendo continued into 2020. In February, Halcovage was allegedly discussing the Super Bowl halftime show with Jane Doe 4. During the discussion that devolved into topics of women being objectified sexually, Halcovage at one point stuck out his tongue “moving it various directions … simulating performing oral sex on a female,” the lawsuit claims.
After making that motion, Halcovage allegedly turned to Doe, in the room with Doe 4 at the time, and stuck his tongue out at her. Doe later told Doe 4 that Halcovage would often brag to her about his prowess in performing oral sex on women.
After that first time Halcovage asked Doe for oral sex, the Commissioner allegedly became obsessed with her. The lawsuit claims Halcovage immediately got on the phone with Doe 2 and demanded to know where Doe was and with whom she was keeping company.
Halcovage also is accused of routinely showing up at Doe’s home late at night with alcohol, or in the early morning, causing Doe to be late for work at the Courthouse. Doe says she never invited Halcovage but would let him in for fear she’d lose her job if she didn’t. Halcovage would sometimes show up at Doe’s home when her children were present, too, the suit claims. His stalking behavior also allegedly including driving past Doe’s home and the home of her best friend.
The Commissioner would also allegedly call her work phone to discuss non-work-related matters or sometimes he would just sing into the phone.
Halcovage also allegedly joined the same gym as Doe but Doe quit her membership at the gym when he showed up.
Doe alleges that Halcovage’s unwanted presence in her personal life affected her romantic relationships. She says it caused a relationship with a boyfriend to end and that her relationship with her children also suffered as a result of the Commissioner’s advances.
“Doe found it impossible to have any boundaries with Halcovage,” the lawsuit alleges.
Roth, Others Implicated
The lawsuit also alleges Solicitor Roth was complicit in Halcovage’s behavior by failing to speak out over what he’d allegedly witnessed.
Roth – among other “supervisory” employees at the Courthouse – allegedly saw Halcovage take Doe into the Commissioners boardroom, alone. He was also allegedly aware of but failed to act on knowledge that Halcovage “was likely attempting to engage in sexual relations with various female employees” of the County.
Bender and Ginny Murray allegedly also “witnessed inappropriate and unlawful sexual harassment” by Halcovage and failed to act to stop or prevent it.
The 4 Jane Does in this lawsuit claim the following:
- Schuylkill County officials discriminated against them because of their gender and because they complained and opposed this unlawful discrimination.
- The Jane Does believe the discrimination and retaliation against them will continue into the future and that it’s still ongoing.
- Schuylkill County officials “exhibited a pattern and practice of not only harassment and discrimination but also hostile work environment and retaliation”.
Halcovage has denied these and all accusations against him since it was revealed last year through an internal County investigation that he likely violated several workplace policies.
- Jane Doe 2: Halcovage Ruined My Marriage, Made Child Custody Threats
- Shocking Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Cover-Ups, and Political Bullying in Lawsuit Filed Against Halcovage, Schuylkill County Officials