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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
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Pennsylvania AG Under Fire by Ousted Analyst

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) - The embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office played favorites in firing an analyst over his report on harassment claims, the man claims in a federal complaint.

George Moore, of Millerstown, says investigating allegations of sexual harassment at the Office of the Attorney General came under his purview when he was promoted to HR analyst IV last year, after a year of glowing performance reviews.

Though due for another promotion this year, Moore says he was fired instead over his work on an investigation assigned to him by the chief inspector for the Office of Professional Responsibility.

Moore says the investigation in question stemmed from harassment complaints that a deputy attorney general and a narcotics agent brought against Jonathan Duecker, whom Attorney General Kathleen Kane tapped as her chief of staff this past April.

The probe into Duecker was a thorny one from the start, according to a federal complaint Moore filed Monday. He filed a similar complaint Monday in Allegheny County.

Moore says "Duecker was infamous for engaging in retaliation," and he was concerned that witnesses to the incidents of harassment, as well as the complaining women themselves, would be put at risk.

Before his promotion this year, Moore was special agent in charge of the Bureau of Narcotics Investigations and Drug Control for the OAG.

Moore says OPR brought him on board for its investigation into Duecker in the second week of April 2015.

That same month, Kane told the OPR inspector to find out what Duecker's accusers "would need to make this go away," according to the complaint. Moore says Kane told the inspector that Duecker was too important to her team and could not be fired.

Duecker soon asked the inspector himself "if the report regarding his sexual harassment could 'die on the vine,'" the complaint states.

Moore says he turned in his report on April 22, recommending that the OAG fire Duecker for "a pattern of sexual misconduct, targeting a subordinate, and showing an abuse of power."

Kane instead promoted Duecker to chief of staff on April 22 or 23, according to the complaint.

Moore says Kane offered the police union a favorable contract one week later, if they made the narcotics agent's case vanish.

No stranger to allegations of professional retaliation, Kane was charged this past August with obstructing justice and perjuring herself in a grand jury testimony regarding private documents she allegedly leaked to embarrass a state prosecutor said to be a political foe of hers.

The scandal led to the suspension of Kane's law license.

Moore says he expected his April report to cause Duecker's termination and remove the agent's future "opportunity to harass the complainants or the witnesses."

Instead, Moore found himself out of a job and the subject of an OAG press release claiming he was terminated "for cause" and had to be "escorted from the OAG building."

Moore says media outlets printed those "intentionally [and] recklessly false" statements.

Pressure against Moore began almost immediately after Kane got wind of his report, according to the complaint. Moore says it began with Kane accusing Moore of leaking information from a grand jury probe into an incinerator, despite knowing that he had no access to such material.

Moore says he then faced a three-hour meeting with Deucker that June, in which the chief of staff "berated" Moore and said he was either "with him or against him."

A week later, Moore got the boot with OAG officials telling him Kane was "going in a different direction," according to the complaint.

Moore says the press release about his firing came from Kane's press secretary Charles Ardo.

The "spin" in the press release "intended to subject [Moore] to public embarrassment and humiliation," according to the complaint.

Moore wants reinstatement and punitive damages for violations of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law and of his due-process rights, plus orders terminating Kane and Deucker.

Kane, the first Democrat and first woman elected attorney general in Pennsylvania, faced a previous call to resign from Gov. Tom Wolf this fall. The attorney general has vowed to clear her name.

The Attorney General's Office has not returned an email seeking comment on Moore's lawsuit.

Moore is represented by Patricia Pierce of Philadelphia firm Greenblatt, Pierce, Engle, Funt & Flores.

The women behind the harassment claims accused Deucker of hitting on them at a bar and a company Christmas party, respectively.

One said Duecker ran his hand under her shirt and up her thigh "after she made it clear she did not want him touching her," Moore's lawsuit states. The holiday-party accuser claimed that she had spent the night at the home hosting the party, but awoke in the middle of the night to find Deucker "standing over her" and "creeping her out."

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