State rep accusing Imad Hamad of sexual harassment speaks out - New York News

State rep accusing Imad Hamad of sexual harassment speaks out

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State Rep. Rashida Tlaib State Rep. Rashida Tlaib
DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) -

Rashida Tlaib, an attorney and state lawmaker representing Detroit, says she was sexually harassed by prominent Arab-American civil rights advocate Imad Hamad. She says it happened 15 years ago when she worked for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn.

"He's being very aggressive, trying to kiss the girls, putting them in headlocks, pushing them up against walls," Tlaib said.

In a letter to the group's national office, she said eight other women who worked or volunteered with the ADC filed written complaints against Hamad in 2007, but they were not taken seriously.

"I've never felt so guilty about the fact that maybe I should've gone much more public about this, maybe even in 2007, but I didn't know that they were going to botch the investigation. I didn't know that there were going to be so many more victims," Tlaib said.

The state representative says she is coming forward now after seeing a photo of Hamad with a new group of young female interns posted on Facebook. She says she left the ADC after just five months on the job because the harassment made her physically sick.

"Making references to some of my body parts, it was very uncomfortable, whispering in my ear during community events about things that were of a sexual nature," Tlaib said.

Hamad's attorney agreed to talk to us at his office in Troy. He said his client stepped down willingly while the investigation moves forward.

"Obviously, the allegations are very serious, and they are to be treated very serious. The challenging part is the allegation was kind of dated. It goes back to 1999," said Shareef Akeel.

The attorney pointed out Hamad has done a lot of good work for the community. He is asking people not to rush to judgement.

The ADC says an independent investigation will now take place.

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