The Louisiana corrections department's recently fired medical director says sexual harassment allegations lodged against him are false, malicious and defamatory.
Dr. Raman Singh, who served as statewide medical director for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections until his termination earlier this month, is seeking damages in a lawsuit from the department, DPSC Secretary James LeBlanc, and his main accuser, a corrections employee who worked under him.
The employee has accused Singh of sexually harassing her last month at a conference of corrections officials at the Golden Nugget Casino/Hotel in Lake Charles, his suit says.
Singh denies the accusation.
"Make no mistake, sexual harassment is a tremendous scourge on society and should never be tolerated," Jill Craft, one of Singh's attorneys, said Tuesday. "However, in this case, Dr. Singh is innocent and appears to have been swept up in the fervor gripping our nation."
The employee declined comment when reached by phone. DPSC spokesman Ken Pastorick said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
Singh acknowledges in his suit that he told his subordinate at the casino bar on Oct. 16: "I want you to know that I loved to work with you. You are one of my best employees." Singh claims he made that statement in an attempt to "alleviate whatever hostility" she had toward him.
The employee, according to the suit, appeared to be intoxicated and mumbled something back to Singh.
Four days later, LeBlanc called Singh into a meeting and told him that a subordinate had accused Singh of sexual harassment and that he must resign immediately, the suit says. LeBlanc said she accused Singh of "putting his arms around" her and telling her, "I love you," the suit adds.
"(Singh) immediatey told LeBlanc the allegation was false, that he never touched her, and relayed that he had only made the comment about working with her with no sexual meaning or intent whatsoever," the suit states.
Singh also demanded a full and fair investigation and that the state obtain the casino tapes, the suit says.
That same day, the employee began "gloating" and circulating text messages and emails, and making statements that Singh had been fired, the suit alleges.
During the department’s investigation into Singh's actions, the suit says, he was told that another woman had accused him in a typed statement of "making a comment about her rear end" more than a year before. Singh again proclaimed his innocence.
Singh claims in his suit that department officials offered him a deal on Nov. 7 that if he resigned, all records of the probe, including any and all complaints, would "disappear." Singh said he refused to resign and was fired effective Nov. 22.
"It is shocking that a state agency would even offer to destroy documents, much less public documents," Craft said.
Singh recorded the Nov. 7 conversation, in which DPSC representatives alluded to having destroyed such information before, Craft added.
The suit says Singh hired the employee, then a nurse at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, in 2011 as the chief nursing officer for the state. LeBlanc transferred her in February and she began reporting only to LeBlanc, the suit adds.
At the time of her transfer, the suit claims, the employee had been making threats to Singh that she was going to make sure she got his job and she would get him fired.
The suit also alleges that LeBlanc told Singh that he had impaired LeBlanc's relationship with state officials and LeBlanc's reappointment.
Singh, who began working for the state in 2002, is asking state District Judge Wilson Fields to declare him factually and legally innocent of sexual harassment.
Craft said she is subpoenaing the casino tapes and has sent the casino a letter asking them to preserve the tapes. Craft said the department never requested the tapes, which she contends are the best evidence of what happened.
Singh's suit was filed Monday in the 19th Judicial District Court.
Editor's note: This story has been updated after publication to remove the name of the employee who made the sexual harassment complaint.