Josh Shapiro’s star is rising. But trouble may be brewing back at home.

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The accuser near her presumption successful March. She was interviewed by EEO investigators aboriginal that period and made a ailment with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission successful June, according to the documents and radical acquainted with the process. Vereb did not respond to aggregate requests for comment.

The woman’s claims rise questions astir precisely however overmuch Shapiro knew astir Vereb’s alleged behaviour and wherefore months elapsed betwixt the ailment being made and his departure. They besides endanger to chopped astatine the bosom of the governor’s governmental identity.

While antecedently serving arsenic lawyer general, Shapiro was astatine the forefront of combating intersexual misconduct successful the Catholic Church. He released a high-profile expansive assemblage study into enactment maltreatment by Catholic clergy. He has besides positioned himself arsenic a staunch defender of women’s rights and ineligible termination successful the state.

In an interrogation with POLITICO, Shapiro said helium could not respond straight to respective questions, including erstwhile helium archetypal learned of the ailment and whether helium asked Vereb to leave. But helium pointed to his past of warring intersexual harassment and abuse.

“I person a agelong and extended way grounds of lasting up for victims of intersexual abuse, harassment. I led, I think, the astir broad probe connected behalf of victims of clergy enactment abuse, prosecuted hundreds of intersexual predators,” helium said. “I person done extended enactment with victims, listening to their stories, investigating their stories, and lasting up for them. So I’ll instrumentality a backmost spot to nary 1 erstwhile it comes to lasting up for victims.”

While 2 erstwhile Shapiro aides person disputed portions of the woman’s claims, Shapiro declined to code the specifics, saying that “a precise thorough investigative process” takes spot erstwhile a authorities worker alleges they were a unfortunate of harassment connected the job.

“It is important to maine that this beryllium an situation wherever everyone feels safe, everyone feels heard, and everyone feels seen,” Shapiro said. “Obviously these investigations — and again, I’m speaking generally, and I deliberation it’s truly important that you recognize that — these things don’t hap overnight. They tin beryllium lengthy processes. But it’s important, and I cognize this from my clip arsenic lawyer wide advocating for victims, it’s truly important to marque definite that everyone beryllium heard and that the process beryllium thorough and complete.”

Vereb’s accuser declined a petition for an interview. The woman’s lawyer, Chuck Pascal, would not remark connected the interrogation connection and PHRC complaint’s authenticity oregon whether his lawsuit had entered into a colony oregon non-disclosure agreement. POLITICO was capable to corroborate the documents’ authenticity.

While the Vereb communicative has not yet resonated overmuch beyond the state, it comes astatine a delicate clip for Shapiro. The politician is seen arsenic a rising prima successful the enactment and has agelong been rumored to beryllium eyeing a statesmanlike tally successful 2028 oregon beyond. This past weekend, helium traveled to the aboriginal statesmanlike superior authorities of New Hampshire to present a code that introduced him to voters determination and further stirred speculation astir his governmental ambition.

Some lawmakers successful Harrisburg person voiced concerns astir the allegations astir Vereb and the Shapiro administration’s handling of the matter. Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward, a Republican, said it is “infuriating” that Vereb stayed successful his occupation for months aft helium was accused of intersexual harassment. A fistful of different GOP pistillate authorities lawmakers person criticized the Shapiro administration implicit however it has dealt with the claims. Democratic authorities Sen. Lindsey Williams has also publically expressed concerns astir the woman’s allegations and the reported retaliation she faced.

In a motion of the sensitivity surrounding the matter, Shapiro met down closed doors Wednesday with pistillate Democratic authorities senators astir the issue, arsenic good arsenic authorities Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, 2 radical acquainted with the treatment said. Shapiro’s chief-of-staff, wide counsel and lieutenant politician were besides present.

In her interrogation connection and the PHRC complaint, which was besides obtained by POLITICO, Vereb’s accuser said that helium made aggregate unwanted intersexual comments to her.

The accuser, whose sanction POLITICO is withholding, said successful the connection that she began moving for the Shapiro medication successful January and took the occupation due to the fact that the politician “is a one-of-a-kind leader.” In February, she said, she was successful a gathering with Vereb and different aides erstwhile a pistillate legislator came up successful conversation. She said Vereb said helium “had a mode of handling” the senator, and explained that astatine 1 constituent successful her bureau “he could person sworn she wanted to person enactment with him.”

A erstwhile Shapiro aide, who was granted anonymity due to the fact that they said they feared retribution, disputed the remarks that Vereb allegedly made astir the pistillate senator. The ex-aide said they were contiguous erstwhile Vereb spoke astir the senator, and that the comments were not intersexual successful nature. The idiosyncratic besides said that Vereb had criticized respective staffers for having “cutesy” meetings, but helium did not mean it sexually.

Around the aforesaid clip arsenic the alleged occurrence involving the pistillate senator, Vereb’s accuser said that helium chastised her for a gathering with a legislative official, saying that she was having a “cute small lunch, looking each cute successful the superior cafeteria and that it was a discarded of my time.” She besides said successful her ailment that different aides successful the medication had joked to her astir Vereb and her having a intersexual relationship.

The accuser said the comments rapidly got worse. In precocious February, she said she told Vereb astir rumors involving his behavior. She claimed Vereb demanded to cognize who was down the gossip and said successful response, “If you told maine close present that you wanted me, if you decided you wanted to participate into that benignant of arrangement, that would beryllium our choice. I mean, you are a beauteous woman.”

She said Vereb besides told her, “If you decided you wanted to bash that, and spell adjacent the doorway to this office, archer maine to crook you implicit this league table, hike your skirt up, and fuck you from behind, that would beryllium our determination to make.”

Vereb’s accuser said that helium advised her to “wear little chopped tops and shorten the slits successful your skirts.” She said she told Vereb she was not funny successful immoderate intersexual narration with him, to which helium responded, “well fuck you then!”

She said Vereb aboriginal called her that evening, and said helium was “really acrophobic astir our speech earlier” and continued to marque intersexual comments astir her.

The adjacent day, she said she received an invitation “from HR” for an hour-long discussion. When she asked Vereb astir it, she said, helium talked astir “performance concerns” — the archetypal clip helium mentioned specified issues.

During the Human Resources gathering successful March, the accuser said she told officials astir the rumors involving Vereb arsenic good arsenic different concerns.

Afterward, she said, she was told by Vereb and different aides that they had show concerns astir her. At that point, she said she told them she was walking retired and elaborate the intersexual harassment by Vereb.

The erstwhile Shapiro adjutant who disputed portions of the accuser’s claims besides defended the Shapiro administration’s handling of the matter, saying that they were interviewed for two-and-a-half hours successful March by the EEO. “The governor’s bureau astir surely did bash an investigation. They did precisely what they were expected to do,” the ex-aide said.

A 2nd erstwhile Shapiro aide, who was granted anonymity to speech freely astir a delicate matter, disputed claims that the accuser made, saying that they were not contiguous during an lawsuit that the accuser said they were at. The idiosyncratic besides said they were interviewed by the EEO successful March.

At a property league Thursday astir authorities investments successful section trails and parks, Shapiro was asked by reporters astir his handling of the Vereb allegations. He said that helium is focused connected creating a “healthy, safe, nonrecreational enactment situation for each of our employees,” and that “victims and witnesses, complainants, they each merit confidentiality” adjacent “if immoderate successful the process don’t travel those rules of confidentiality.” Asked astir Ward, the Republican Senate president pro tempore who has criticized his administration’s attack to the intersexual harassment claims, Shapiro said to “consider the source.”

Vereb has been a longtime state to Shapiro. They were authorities lawmakers together, some hailing from the Philadelphia suburbs successful Montgomery County, for respective years. As lawyer general, Shapiro tapped Vereb successful 2017 to beryllium his manager of authorities affairs.

When Vereb near his caput job, but earlier the quality broke astir the intersexual harassment allegations, Shapiro’s medication praised him successful authoritative remarks. “Mike has been a cardinal subordinate of our squad and acknowledgment to his dedicated service, the Governor’s Office is prepared for the enactment ahead,” Shapiro’s main of staff, Dana Fritz, said successful a statement. “We privation Mike each the champion and we’re grateful for his service.”