Add state agencies to the claims list on sexual misconduct

The numbers are in on Pennsylvania state government and alleged sexual harassment and they are every bit as discomforting as first thought.

Pennsylvania state government agencies fielded 339 reports of alleged sexual harassment over a recent five-year period.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration provided the data in response to a Right-to-Know Law request by The Associated Press.

Breaking the complaints down, the Corrections Department had 91 sexual harassment reports over the five years that ended June 30.

The Human Services Department had 58 reports, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board had 60 and the state police 34 over that same period.

There are no details accompanying the numbers. Information is still being collected regarding sexual harassment lawsuits and settlements.

But the numbers alone are an embarrassment and evidence of a horrible pattern of unacceptable behavior in the state government agencies.

These numbers follow previous disclosures showing all three branches of state government have settled misconduct allegations in recent years, including claims for unwelcome touching, kissing and sexual comments.

The other numbers that are just as disgusting – and completely inappropriate – are those detailing the dollar figures of settlements paid with taxpayer money to resolve sexual harassment complaints involving public officials.

Those figures were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for complaints associated with the branches of state government. There is no reason to expect less for the complaints involving the state agencies.

All of it was unauthorized by taxpayers and amounts to a fraudulent use of public funds.

We won’t hold our breath on those who committed the unsuitable behavior refunding state coffers for the settlement funding.

But we should all hope – and insist – that the inappropriate behavior and misuse of taxpayer funds will end now that it has been exposed.