Five people have accused state Representative Duane Hall, a Wake County Democrat, of sexual harassment, and the state Democratic Party chairman is calling for Hall to resign, according to a blockbuster new story from NC Policy Watch (and former INDY) reporter Billy Ball.
Per the report:
Behind the scenes, Hall has a reputation for more than his political prowess. Including White, five sources—some of whom requested not to be named for fear of repercussions in their current jobs—detailed persistent sexual innuendo from the three-term legislator and, in some cases, repeated, unwanted sexual overtures. … The allegations include claims that the lawmaker harassed a woman and kissed her without her consent at a 2016 Equality N.C. gala, and that he kissed a party official without her consent at a Democratic function in summer 2016.
In response, state party officials have called on Hall to step down:
As a result of Policy Watch’s investigation, top North Carolina Democrats called on Hall to step down Wednesday.
“Sexual harassment is never acceptable – no matter the party or politics,” said N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin. “These are serious allegations and Representative Hall should step down. The North Carolina Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment and we continue to encourage women to speak out against inappropriate behavior of any kind.”
Rep. Darren Jackson, the state House Democratic leader, also issued a statement Wednesday.
“The allegations surrounding Representative Duane Hall are serious and the women involved deserve to be heard and supported,” said Jackson, who represents part of Wake County. “He has made unacceptable mistakes in harassing women. Yesterday, I spoke with him and asked him to resign. I think it is right that he step back from public service, work to make amends, and learn from his past mistakes.”
Hall, for his part, denies the allegations:
Hall denied talking about White’s appearance or propositioning her. He also denied numerous other allegations against him that were uncovered by Policy Watch.
Hall said he believes “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that he’s never sexually harassed any women in his time as a state legislator.
“I’ve been single since I got a divorce in 2010,” said Hall. “Since I’ve been at the legislature, I dated several different people, none of whom worked with me in my legislative office or in my legal practice.”
“Any person I’ve had a relationship with has been completely consensual,” added Hall.
Hall did not immediately respond to the INDY’s phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
Note: The original headline and lead of this story said that five women had accused Hall of misconduct. That is incorrect. The NC Policy Watch story drew on five sources, some of whom had witnessed Hall’s alleged behavior.