Pat Magee, a top aide to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, resigned Thursday as a second sexual harassment complaint against him came to light alleging that he assigned women in his office to handle less serious cases that he deemed “good for women.”
The woman who wrote the complaint said she and other women in the office styled themselves to avoid unwelcome attention from Magee, and that Magee tried to coach male employees on “how to be more manly.” As The Advocate was seeking comment from Magee about the second complaint, he announced that he was resigning from his post as head of the criminal division at the Attorney General’s Office, effective at 5 p.m.
"Due to recent false and unjust allegations against me and after an exhaustive and gut-wrenching investigation, which concluded my conduct did not rise to the level of sexual harassment, I have made this personal and very difficult decision," Magee said in a statement. "Let me be very clear, I did not commit — nor do I condone — sexual harassment in the workplace, or anywhere."
A sexual harassment complaint against a top aide for Attorney General Jeff Landry alleges that Pat Magee insisted that one woman should be dep…
The new complaint against Magee came from a lawyer who left her job at the Attorney General’s Office in 2019, after less than two years working under Magee’s reign as the head of Landry’s criminal division. She filed a letter with the office Tuesday that said Magee created a hostile climate for everyone who worked in his office because of his persistent sexual harassment.
Magee’s resignation and her complaint both came within a week after 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley ordered Landry to release a previous complaint about Magee to the public. The Attorney General’s Office tried to keep the document under seal, and Landry took the extraordinary step of suing the Advocate reporter who requested a copy of it, but Kelley last week ordered its release.
That complaint also described multiple instances of Magee harassing his employees. The person who wrote the first complaint said Magee suggested that one attorney work on a case “because male jurors would want to have sex with her,” and that Magee declined to promote another female attorney because her good looks made him unsure if he “would be able to control himself sexually.”
That initial complaint prompted the Attorney General’s Office to hire attorney Vicki Crochet at the law firm Taylor Porter to investigate. Crochet’s probe, concluded in January, found that Magee’s actions, while improper, did not rise to the level of sexual harassment and that Magee’s comments were “joking in nature.” Magee was suspended for 38 days, docked $20,559 in pay and ordered to attend training sessions on emotional intelligence.
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But the complaint about Magee filed this week raised new concerns about how thoroughly the original complaints were investigated, in addition to lodging several new allegations.
“The findings of your investigation into Director Magee appear to conclude that all of the allegations in the complaint were private, one-off comments,” she wrote. “This could not be further from the truth.”
She wrote that nobody on the receiving end of the alleged inappropriate comments from Magee considered them a joke.
“I certainly didn’t think that the comments made to me about jobs that were appropriate for women was a joke, that was confirmed to me by the types of jobs I was able to pursue,” she said.
The attorney shared a copy of her complaint with this newspaper on the condition that her name not be published. The newspaper, which generally does not publish the names of potential victims and witnesses without their consent, agreed. The attorney who wrote the new complaint said she had also witnessed multiple accounts described in the initial complaint.
She said the Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday confirmed that it had received the new complaint and promised the information in it would be reviewed. She provided a copy of that email to The Advocate.
The stakes were high Thursday in the courtroom of Judge Tim Kelley of Baton Rouge, where the powerful attorney general of Louisiana was trying…
After months of staying quiet about the allegations against him, Magee defended himself on Thursday.
Magee said it had been an honor to be the first Black man to serve as director of the AG's criminal division. A former assistant district attorney for the 15th Judicial District court in Lafayette under longtime former District Attorney Mike Harson, Magee has also served as a litigation attorney and served in the Louisiana National Guard.
"Throughout my entire career," he wrote, "my prosecutorial philosophy has been to lead with compassion when appropriate and be aggressive in dispensing justice to those responsible when necessary.”
A spokesperson for the attorney general did not return messages on Thursday.
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The attorney wrote in her complaint that before Magee became the director of the office’s Department of Justice, the previous director, Brandon Fremin, had encouraged younger prosecutors to get experience in a variety of cases. That changed, she wrote, once Magee took over.
She said that Magee found tasks like writing briefs and researching cases to be inferior to trial work, and that Magee farmed out those tasks to women in the office, calling the work “good for females.” She said that Magee did not learn her name for months, instead calling her a “chick.”
She described Magee “having an odd fascination with the differences between males and females and their abilities to perform certain tasks.” She said he often asked women to handle cases like traffic tickets, while men were often assigned to handle more serious crimes.
“I felt like my wings were clipped, so to speak,” she said. “I was very limited in what I was going to be able to experience and learn, to move up in the office.”
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She submitted a resignation letter in 2018, and when she told Magee about the type of work she would be doing at her new job, she said Magee told her that the job duties were “suitable for females.” But she ended up deciding to stay at the Attorney General’s Office job because several co-workers told her they thought Magee would leave his position once Landry started his second term in office. Magee, however, stayed, and she said the climate grew worse.
At a post-work happy hour, she wrote that Magee “put his hand on my leg in an overly familiar manner.” She reported it to a supervisor, who encouraged her to go to HR.
“After much consideration, I declined to report the incident because I believed that nothing would be done, the incident would be brushed off and that I would suffer adverse consequences if my reporting was revealed to Director Magee,” she wrote.
Magee often described his love of “alpha females,” and asked her if she was an “alpha female,” she alleged. He also continually bragged of his close relationship with Landry and reminded employees frequently of their unclassified work status, which gave Magee the ability to fire them at any time, she said.
She said women in the office frequently discussed with one another that they felt uncomfortable wearing makeup, dresses, skirts and other feminine attire out of fear that Magee would find them attractive and make sexualized comments about them, she said.
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She wrote that she was uncomfortable enough around Magee that when she booked a hotel room in Monroe for a case she was working on there and then found out that Magee booked a room at the same hotel, she changed the timing of her arrival to ensure she would not run into him in the lobby.
“This is the course of action that I chose in order to avoid an awkward and likely inappropriate encounter, and I made the drive to Monroe from Baton Rouge late at night,” she wrote in her complaint. “These types of conversations, concerns and fears are not normal or acceptable in a workplace.”
She also wrote that Magee frequently spoke of having numerous “baby mommas,” and shared intimate details of one relationship at a Christmas party when “everyone present was clearly uncomfortable.” She said that she also overheard Magee coaching male employees on “how to be more manly.”
The woman said that she feared reporting Magee to HR because she worried that her complaints would not be taken seriously. The lack of findings of sexual harassment in the recent investigation into Magee reinforced those concerns; she noted that sexual harassment can be more than a quid pro quo — it can also be the creation of a hostile work environment.
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She encouraged the Attorney General’s Office to commission a new investigation and to interview all current and former employees of Magee. Of the Taylor Porter probe, she wrote: “It is obvious that the investigation was not thorough, and that little to no effort was made to contact current or former employees to verify the allegations or share additional experiences or concerns.”
She concluded by saying she wasn’t motivated by any specific ill will toward Magee, but added that his behavior was harming the office and those who work there.
“I have no personal vendetta or hatred towards Director Magee and I sincerely hope that his emotional intelligence trainings will be effective,” she wrote. “However, as a victim of the toxic and hostile environment I can only have sympathy for those who still suffer under his directorship.”