Democratic congressional candidate Andrea Ramsey is dropping out of a Kansas race after a spotlight was put on a past lawsuit involving accusations that she sexually harassed a male subordinate who rejected her advances.
Ramsey's campaign indicated she will drop out on Friday after the Kansas City Star asked about harassment accusations from 2005, McClatchy reported.
Multiple sources familiar with the case told the Star that the accuser, Gary Funkhouser, reached a settlement agreement with Ramsey's employer at the time, LabOne. Ramsey was the company's executive vice president of human resources during the time of the accusations. Funkhouser agreed to dismiss the case permanently after mediation in 2006.
The 56-year-old now-retired business executive was vying to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ third district. Ramsey had the endorsement of Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group that has raised more than 500,000 to help female candidates who support abortion rights. The group has not yet responded to a request for comment regarding the case against its preferred candidate.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee responded with a statement saying members and candidates must all be held to the "highest standard."
"If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office," committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said.
Ramsey has denied the allegations in two interviews with the Star over the last two weeks and said the lawsuit only surfacing now for political purposes.
"Had those allegations, those false allegations, been brought up against me directly instead of the company, I would have fought to exonerate my name," Ramsey said on Thursday. "And I would have sued the disgruntled, vindictive employee for defamation."
The allegations against Ramsey were outlined in a lawsuit filed by Funkhouser against LabOne, but he would not discuss the case when reached by phone.
"All I can say is the matter has been resolved," Funkhouser said.
In the complaint, Funkhouser outlines accusations that Ramsey made inappropriate sexual comments beginning in September of 2004, and then in late March 2005, she made sexual advances toward him.
"After I told her I was not interested in having a sexual relationship with her, she stopped talking to me," the former LabOne human resources manager wrote in the complaint. "In the office she completely ignored me and avoided having any contact with me."
He further described in the complaint how he was even moved out of his office into a cubical far away from Ramsey’s office, and was eventually fired from LabOne in June 2005.
"[Ramsey] repeatedly told me she heard great things from others about my performance," Funkhouser wrote. "After I rejected her, she told me she now was hearing bad things about my performance and on June 13, 2005, terminated my employment."