Nez Perce County Prosecutor responds to allegation of harassment

LEWISTON, ID - Nez Perce County Prosecutor Dan Spickler is currently the center, of a what has been called a sexual harassment investigation, filed by one of his staff members.

Spickler released details of the allegation, even though it is currently under investigation, because the election is two weeks away.

"To make it clear what I was accused of so that people wouldn't run wild with speculation that I had done something serious," said Spickler.

The incident stems from a team building exercise, according to Spickler, who asked his employees to bring in three photographs that represented an aspect of their lives. One photograph that Spickler presented depicted a woman wearing a shirt over her chest that said 'I wish these were brains.' He said he included the picture to show his employees he's interested in their abilities and not the way they look or dress.

"I was surprised initially to hear that it offended some people but, after thinking about it I could see that it was in poor taste," said Spickler.

Nez Perce County Commissioner Doug Havens said after being briefed about the incident several weeks ago, he turned the allegation over to the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, to keep the county removed from the investigation. When we contacted the independent insurance investigators, they were unable to give us a comment due to confidentiality agreements.

"I'm told that it should be a week or two and the county commissioners will be receiving a report from the independent investigator," said Havens.

As everyone awaits the results of the investigation, what will happen next remains unclear. Havens said they'll likely seek counsel from an independent source. Spickler said he's cooperating with investigators, but is unhappy that the personnel matter became a public issue.

"It was supposed to have been maintained confidentially but obviously someone leaked and it became public," said Spickler.

"As far as any breach of confidentiality coming from myself or the commissioners office, that's totally false," said Havens.

Havens said the commissioner's office is unaware of any details of the investigation. Spickler said he's confident the investigation won't affect the election.

"I have twelve years in this office and people know me," said Spickler. "They know my reputation, they know my reputation for honesty."