Live

Watch CBSN Live

Women suing Charlie Rose make new claims of sexual harassment

Charlie Rose files motion to dismiss lawsuit

Three women suing former CBS News anchor Charlie Rose for alleged sexual harassment detailed new claims in three affidavits filed Monday night. The filings were meant to deter a judge from accepting Rose's motion to dismiss the case.

The women, who were all hired to work for CBS News or for Rose's PBS show when they were in their early 20s, added to their initial claims of "blatant and repeated sexual harassment." 

"(Rose) would sit on the bench outside the broadcast studio and would require me to sit next to him," wrote Katherine Brooks Harris, in her affidavit. "On at least one occasion, I was wearing a skirt and, as I sat down, Rose intentionally placed his hand on the bench so that my buttocks landed on his hand and he kept his hand under me." 

In the initial complaint filed on May 4, 2018, Harris said that while working at "CBS This Morning," Rose took her to expensive restaurants and bought her wine, before offering her a job at PBS' "Charlie Rose" show. 

Rose had filed a motion to dismiss the case last September, and argued the women were "exploiting the #MeToo Movement."     

Harris and Sydney McNeal, another plaintiff, both said in the affidavits that on at least three occasions, Rose undressed in front of them, "removing his dress shirt and exposing his naked upper body (he did not wear an under shirt)."

"Rose could have changed his shirt in a nearby restroom, but intentionally undressed in front of me and Ms. McNeal, because he wanted us to see his naked upper torso," Harris wrote. 

They also wrote that Rose hugged and kissed them, "often after dining at a restaurant or when he left the office for a business trip or vacation." 

"He would grab both my shoulders, pull me close to him, and plant a wet kiss on my cheek, close to my lips," Harris and McNeal both wrote.

In the complaint filed last year, Harris and McNeal said Rose repeatedly asked them "about their sex lives and directed them to share details with him." 

Harris, McNeal and Yuqing "Chelsea" Wei, the third woman in the lawsuit, each described similar experiences involving Rose touching and squeezing them "in a dominating and degrading manner."

Wei said in the May 2018 complaint that Rose referred to her "as China doll," which the lawsuit called a "fetish term."    

The day before the lawsuit was filed last year, The Washington Post published a report in which 27 women accused Rose of sexual harassment. 

One of the journalists who authored that story wrote in a New York magazine essay published Monday that before publication, the story also included allegations against former "60 Minutes" executive producer Jeff Fager. She said Fager and his lawyer pressured the paper to leave out the allegations against him.

Kristine Coratti Kelly, a spokesperson for The Washington Post, criticized the New York magazine story in a statement to CBS News. 

"The New York Magazine piece is an incomplete story of The Post's investigation of sexual harassment allegations at CBS, and it sidesteps an essential truth: certain aspects of that reporting did not meet our standards for publication," Kelly said. "The suggestion that The Post's decision-making -- made in agreement by five senior editors -- was influenced by anything other than established journalistic standards is baseless and reprehensible."

Fager was fired in September 2018 after sending a threatening text message to a CBS News correspondent seeking comment for a story on allegations against him.

Rose's attorney, Therese Doherty, refuted the new claims in a phone call with CBS News Tuesday.

"The affidavits are an effort to bolster the plaintiffs' claims in light of the motion to dismiss that was made by Mr. Rose. The claims are baseless, and the evidence against their claims is very strong," Doherty said. "Mr. Rose vigorously denies the claims. He did not physically or verbally sexually harass these plaintiffs. He did not pursue any sexual activity with any of these plaintiffs, and he did not discriminate against any of these plaintiffs."

The women also sued CBS News, which reached an undisclosed settlement with them on December 7, 2018. In a handwritten note on the bottom of her order accepting the CBS News settlement, the judge the case urged "remaining parties to engage in private mediation" to settle the case.

Asked if a settlement was still in the cards, Doherty said, "the case is moving forward."

Rose was fired from "CBS This Morning" in November 2017 and his PBS show was canceled. When allegations first surfaced against Rose, he apologized for "inappropriate behavior" but claimed some allegations were inaccurate.      

View CBS News In