TOPEKA, Kan. -- A female former executive running for Congress in Kansas has dropped out of the race over a 2005 federal lawsuit accusing her of sexually harassing a male employee whom she supervised.
Andrea Ramsey called the allegations that she harassed and retaliated against Gary Funkhouser "a lie" in a Facebook post Friday announcing the end of her campaign.
"Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior. And the due process that I love, that drew me to the field of law, is totally denied," Ramsey wrote.
Ramsey was seeking the Democratic nomination in the Kansas City-area 3rd District and hoped to challenge incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder next year.
She said the national Democratic Party declined to support her over the lawsuit, filed by Funkhouser against Kansas City-area company LabOne. Ramsey was a vice president, and Funkhouser said he was fired after rebuffing her sexual advances.
Court records show the case was dismissed after settlement talks in 2006.
In her statement, Ramsey said, "Twelve years ago, I eliminated an employee's position. That man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company (not against me). He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me. That is a lie. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigated the allegations and decided not to pursue the complaint; the man later decided to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit."
She accused her opponents for using these "false allegations" against her "for political purposes."
Funkhouser would not discuss the case when contacted by the Kansas City Star. "All I can say is the matter has been resolved," he said.
While Ramsey said she supports people speaking out more openly against sexual harassment, she criticized the response to her particular situation.
"In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard. For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee's false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process," she said.