MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island woman says she now has the courage to come forward – inspired by other alleged victims across the country to share her troubling story of alleged sexual harassment in the workplace.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported exclusively Monday, Margalie Rodriguez said she has been honored to work for more than 20 years as a lawyer for the Nassau County Commission on Human Rights.
“My office was created to eradicate sexual harassment, yet I’m being subjected to it, and being afraid to come forward and say I need help,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’s boss under the administration of Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano was Dr. Phillip Elliott, former executive director of minority affairs and now deputy county executive for health and human services.
Rodriguez claims to have been consistently publicly humiliated by Elliott’s allegedly cruel sexual remarks.
“At my breasts, at my arms, at my legs, at my body parts,” she said.
Elliott, respected in the country, is also a clergy member in Hempstead. The married father is the bishop of a large church there.
He declined CBS2’s request for an interview at the church. CBS2 also tried his home and his office.
Rodriguez alleged that while planning wit Elliott for a humanitarian trip to Haiti, “He said: ‘No, it’s OK. I can pay for you. You can go with me, and then you can stay in my room. You can stay in my hotel.’”
She claims rebuking him, she was passed over for a promotion that was given to a less-qualified man.
Though other considerations are job effectiveness and attendance.
“And I know it was in retaliation for having turned down his advances,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez filed a federal lawsuit against Nassau County, alleging gender discrimination.
But County Attorney Carnell Foskey said, “It did not contain any allegations of sexual harassment against Reverend Phillip Elliott, and we have no knowledge of any confidential EEO complaints.”
Rodriguez said she is finally speaking out after years of alleged harassment, given courage because of the nationwide trend.
“I am one of you who are out there, who are voiceless and afraid to speak,” she said.
Without acknowledging any wrongdoing, the counties of Nassau and Suffolk said they expect soon to require sexual harassment training for members and staff.
Rodriguez said she is waiting to hear back from the special investigations office, as well as from Elliott.