Publisher’s note: This letter was edited for length. The entire letter can be read online at coastalcourier.com.
Thank you for publishing my complaints against Mr. Kenneth Howard and others for both sexual harassment and retaliation as well as the four unsworn responses from each of the individual respondents collectively given to you by their same local attorney whom I understand also represents Mr. Howard in his pending criminal charges for sexual pandering in Fort Valley, Georgia. I understand thus far no response has been forthcoming from the City of Hinesville, the Mayor or any member of the City Council other than Ms. Vicky Nelson who is a named perpetrator. The only city official who has offered any information or assistance during this process is Ms. Diana Reid, and I have recently learned she is now being treated like a mushroom and kept in the dark. Ms. Reid is being treated unfairly for doing what is right.
I write this letter to you to correct the record you have begun to establish and to provide additional relevant information.
Mr. Howard engaged in a quid pro quo request for sex in our workplace at City Hall in Hinesville, Georgia. Mr. Howard also committed sexual harassment and retaliation for my complaint of sexual harassment made against him. Sexual harassment and retaliation are two distinct, separate and independent unlawful acts. The timely filed retaliation claim was committed by others in addition to Mr. Howard. The ultimate and last act of retaliation took place on July 19, 2019, when without my request or notice I was summarily demoted and reassigned to the Community Development Department. Mr. Howard also allegedly criminally pandered for sex in Fort Valley, Georgia. I believe he used the promise of money to effect his criminal intentions in both locations.
I never asked to be interviewed for the position recited in Mr. Howard’s response. That is a lie told by Mr. Howard.
Over the years Mr. Howard has created such a septic environment and condition at City Hall that there cannot be an independent, fair and impartial investigation of the allegations and a ‘’full and thorough investigation” that Mr. Howard calls for unless and until Mr. Howard, Ms. Holly Fields and Ms. Niesha Williams are removed from the building and suspended from their positions of influence, power and control over City Hall and the many good employees working there.
Ms. Williams was my friend and work partner. She promised to look after me. I am hurt and searching to forgive her. She knew and has personal knowledge of what Mr. Howard and Ms. Fields did to me.
Ms. Williams according to Mr. Howard was asked to personally sit as a witness and recorder in the hearing I had with Mr. Howard and to take the notes or minutes of the meeting. I brought a tape recorder with me to the meeting because I thought everyone needed to be protected and to eliminate any misunderstandings, misapprehensions or mistakes as to what was said and what was agreed to during that meeting.
Mr. Howard told me emphatically there would be no recording of the meeting. Ms. Williams stated that she would take the notes of the meeting and that he would keep a copy of the notes and Ms. Williams’ would also keep a copy.
I have repeatedly asked for a copy of the notes of the meeting and hearing I had with Mr. Howard and Ms. Williams during which he apologized for his inappropriate sexual harassment behavior toward me. To date no notes have been produced and I have been informed no notes exist. Ms. Williams had a duty to me and the citizens of Hinesville to take and maintain those notes and the record of the proceeding. Such notes and record would be in the best interest of all concerned. She failed me and the citizens of Hinesville miserably.
I am sure Ms. Williams is aware that forensic examiners can determine if documents, texts, emails, notes and recordings have been erased or destroyed. The information Ms. Williams retained and maintained on her phone is in the best interest of all concerned and should be shared.
Thank you again for reviewing my concerns and your ongoing investigative reporting. My life is currently hell right now mitigated only by a caring and loving husband, family and friends. Given how I have been treated to date, I now understand and more fully appreciate why women who find themselves in my circumstance elect instead to remain silent rather than suffer the consequences of disclosure.