Tarold Durham.....Source: Belhaven University website
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
A sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuit has been filed against Belhaven University and administrator, Tarold Durham.
The attorney for the plaintiff, Erica Stewart, says she was overlooked for a job as receptionist because she did not give-in to sexual advancements.
WLBT obtained a copy of text messages that were allegedly shared between the two. The messages also contain pictures of a man's genitals that Durham allegedly sent to her.
Stewart was interviewed for the job in November of 2015. The suit claims Belhaven allowed Durham to keep his job as Director of Online Admissions following complaints.
Stewart is suing for compensatory and punitive damages.
We talked with Stewart's attorney Carlos Moore Wednesday night about the lawsuit.
Moore said, "She wanted a job but she did not want him. And this is clear that she has gone to this extent to let him know I don't find it funny, I don't find it acceptable and I don't find it acceptable that your employer is backing you."
Late Wednesday afternoon, Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott issued the following statement:
"Belhaven University received notice of Ms. Stewart's lawsuit today via an inquiry from a media outlet. The University has not been served with a copy of the complaint. Ms. Steward filed a charge of discrimination in January, 2016 alleging an unlawful employment practice that was thoroughly investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the University. The EEOC issued a determination that it was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes..." and dismissed the charge on June 22, 2016. Belhaven takes all allegations of sexual harassment and alleged inappropriate conduct serious and thoroughly investigates all reports made to the University. Belhaven will respond to the allegations asserted by Ms. Stewart in turn through the litigation process."