POTTSVILLE, Pa. - Protesters in Schuylkill County took to the streets on Sunday, demanding the resignation of an embattled county commissioner.
The protest comes less than two weeks after four women, who work for the county, filed a civil lawsuit claiming rampant sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination in the workplace.
“No means no. No means no,” chanted protesters who had gathered outside the Schuylkill County Courthouse.
They’re demanding the ouster of George Halcovage after a county investigation concluded he violated sexual harassment and discrimination policies.
According to court documents, earlier this month four female county employees filed a lawsuit against him, the county courthouse where they worked and two other county officials -- first assistant solicitor Glenn Roth and County Administrator Gary Bender.
"In 2021, we cannot accept this from our government officials, whether they're Republican or Democrat,” Lisa Hollenbach, who was among the protesters, tells 69 News. “Everyone needs to stand up and make the courthouse a place that's functional and safe."
The civil suit lists hundreds of allegations. In one instance, two women claim Halcovage told them they'd have to switch political parties if they wanted a raise.
The suit claims Roth and Bender failed to take corrective action in regard to Halcovage's behavior. There are multiple claims of Halcovage making sexually charged remarks that left female county employees feeling embarrassed and humiliated.
"If he had been a county employee, he would have been fired. But the fact is, he's an elected official, so he cannot be fired,” said Catherine Mahon, who organized the protest.
It's not the first time Halcovage has been investigated. Back in February, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro decided not to charge Halcovage over allegations of sexual harassment. Shapiro says his office did take statute of limitations into consideration in the decision not to file charges.
"At this point, our only hope to get him removed from office is to either have him resign or have him impeached,” Mahon says. "If George Halcovage does not resign, and I don't think he will, I want our state House delegation to begin the process of impeaching him."
In recent weeks, Halcovage, who denies the allegations, has not responded to requests for comment from 69 News.