EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King is being investigated for sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior dating back to 2019.
A county employee says King began to sexually harass her at work about two years ago.
First News at Nine’s Carla Rogner reports this February, the employee filed a complaint with the human resources department launching an investigation into the district attorney’s behavior.
Documents obtained from the state department of administration show a victim filed a complaint with Eau Claire County Human Resources Department in mid-February, prompting a third party investigation into king’s behavior.
An employee within the district attorney’s office says king began making inappropriate comments about her clothing and appearance in august 2019. The woman, who is not identified, reports king told her some clothing was “too distracting” and commented “let’s get a room” while driving past a hotel.
According to the investigation in January, King told the woman he loved her, kissed her, and forced her to sit on his lap.
This event led the staff to create a “safety plan”. In interviews conducted with HR, district attorney office employees said they would interrupt if he went into the targeted employee’s office and closed the door.
In February, Sheriff Ron Cramer says king showed up to court in a disorderly state and the sheriff was called by a bailiff for a welfare check on king.
King was asked to take a breath test to check for alcohol use but refused.
King told the investigator his behavior was prompted by grief after the death of an Eau Claire police officer who he had worked closely with and a lack of sleep.
In a statement to First News at Nine King says in part, “In my nearly 3500 days in the office, i was never, prior to this complaint, made aware of any concerns regarding my conduct. To the contrary, i have received hundreds of examples if feedback over the years from office staff, both written and verbal, regarding the office environment that i promote and my conduct in that environment.”
The third-party investigation concluded that king did make inappropriate comments to women in his office. These findings have been sent to the state for possible further action.
Earlier this week, Sheriff Cramer says a second incident took place, in which king appeared to pass out during a zoom meeting. Cramer says a breath test to check for alcohol came back positive.
In Eau Claire, Carla Rogner First News at Nine.
Sheriff Cramer says the findings of this investigation and the DA’s behavior are concerning. Since no criminal charges have been filed, the county cannot take any further steps. Since King is an elected official and a state employee, it would be up to Governor Tony Evers to take any action.