A top aide to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) resigned Wednesday over revelations he had been involved in a harassment lawsuit and $400,000 settlement while working for the California Department of Justice.
Larry Wallace, a senior adviser in Harris' Sacramento office, stepped down after the Sacramento Bee investigated the 2017 settlement, the newspaper reported.
"We were unaware of this issue and take accusations of harassment extremely seriously," Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams said. "This evening, Mr. Wallace offered his resignation to the senator, and she accepted it."
Adams said the office had been unaware of the complaint, lawsuit and settlement.
Harris was elected California's attorney general in 2010 and served until early 2017, when she entered the U.S. Senate. While the settlement was finalized in May 2017, the lawsuit was filed in December 2016.
Wallace, a former Berkeley police detective, was director of the department's Division of Law Enforcement. Before that, he worked for Harris when she was San Francisco district attorney.
Harris, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has been a strong supporter of the #MeToo movement, and in June introduced legislation to curb workplace harassment.
The lawsuit was brought by Danielle Hartley, who alleges Wallace harassed and demeaned her while she was working for him, according to the Bee. Hartley says Wallace placed his computer printer under his desk and routinely asked Hartley to crawl under to refill it with paper while he sat and watched, sometimes with other men in the room. He also asked Hartley to do personal tasks unrelated to work.
“Hartley had concerns she was being harassed and demeaned due to her gender,” the lawsuit states.
Hartley began working as Wallace's assistant in 2011. She reported the alleged harassment and said she soon began to experience retaliation, according to the lawsuit. She was transferred to another Department of Justice office by the end of 2014.
The department, however, denied the claims made in Hartley's lawsuit. And Harris' successor, current state Attorney General Xavier Becerra, said Hartley failed to utilize training and procedures to deal with harassment.
In May 2017, the department settled with Hartley for $400,000, even as it continued to deny her claims.
Hartley is barred from discussing the settlement amount as part of the settlement and agreed not to apply for jobs with the Justice Department.
Neither she nor Wallace spoke to the Bee.