EXCLUSIVE: City Hall employee placed on leave, HR investigation launched after Bulldog report

(Source: WGCL)

Two days after an explosive CBS46 Bulldog investigation exposed a sexual harassment scandal inside Atlanta City Hall, the mayor's office announced this morning employee Mark Henderson, the subject of sexual harassment allegations, has been placed on leave and the city has launched a new internal investigation.

This also comes, after the president of the Atlanta City Council demanded answers, following our report.

"What I have heard is shocking, troubling, concerning," council president Felicia A. Moore told CBS46 in an interview.

In a written statement today, a city hall spokesperson said, “The newly appointed Human Resources Commissioner felt it appropriate to reopen the investigation in order to reevaluate this matter, as new previously undisclosed details have been uncovered. Mr. Henderson has been placed on administrative leave while the current investigation continues to unfold.”

The Bulldog revealed Monday how Henderson, a high-level manager at city hall, was quietly moved to a newly created position, even after the city's law department recommended he should "terminated" after a sexual harassment investigation was conducted this past spring.

One of his female deputies, who he admitted to having a sexual relationship with, accused him of unwanted sexual advances and other inappropriate actions. That employee, Judith Richards, who is also still on city staff, has hired a well known sexual harassment attorney and is considering a lawsuit against the city.

We reported Tuesday night, the city council president says her office and maybe others have received legal notices in the case.

In racy text messages between the two we obtained, one reads: "Come up to the 4th floor... I want another kiss... please..."We also obtained a phone conversation between the two, provided by Richards, in which a man she claims is Henderson, tells her: "I still got your back 100 percent and hopefully you still have mine."He then appears to ask: "Did you report me? Or anything like that?"The conversation, an apparent effort to silence the blossoming scandal.

In other texts, Henderson appears to brag about getting people jobs, and Richards alludes that Henderson promised he would talk to Mayor Reed about a promotion. We spoke with Henderson Monday, who admitted, "This is incredibly damaging for me."

He didn't dispute the evidence out there but said there is more to the story.

His attorney, however, instructed him not to talk in detail about the case when he was offered a chance to defend himself further.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

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