MCS administrator wants to resign after harassment claim - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MCS administrator wants to resign after harassment claim

(WMC-TV) – A top administrator at Memphis City Schools submitted his resignation this week after he was accused of drunkenly sexually harassing a co-worker during a party at the superintendent's home last month.

Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer submitted his resignation Monday. He asks that his last day be April 30.

The letter became known Wednesday after Memphis City Schools released documents detailing the sexual harassment claims that led to Hamer's suspension last month.

Hamer was suspended after allegedly making several comments about a co-worker's breasts while staff members were attending a party at Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash's home

During the school system's investigation, Cash told attorneys that Hamer became so drunk he gave an incoherent toast and fell on the floor at one point during the party.

According to the report, Hamer stopped the toast to ask a colleague if he was having a sidebar discussion with the superintendent's executive assistant, Tiffany Crutchfield.  Hamer went on to tell that colleague that Crutchfield had large breasts, but she is married.

Other guests tried to steer Hamer back to the toast, but then Hamer said he was distracted by Crutchfield's breasts.

Several of the guests said Hamer's comments made them feel uncomfortable.

Cash told the attorneys investigating the sexual harassment claim that employees were allowed to bring alcohol to the party.  He also told them  that he ordered Hamer to apologize to Crutchfield.

However, Hamer didn't do that.

Instead, according to the report, he sent Crutchfield an email apologizing for his "crude and disrespectful comments."

Hamer also denied that he was drunk during the party.

"I wish it was possible to blame my behavior on the consumption of alcohol – I cannot," he wrote in the email. "I had two small drinks that evening. There was a third that I did not consume."

Hamer wrote that his comments were due to his failure "to recognize where we were, what we were doing, who was in attendance, and being too familiar with you and our colleagues."

The internal investigation revealed Cash was shocked when Hamer did not apologize in person to Crutchfield or to the other coworkers in attendance.

Cash told investigators that when Crutchfield read the e-mail, she cried.  She then sent a complaint the following Tuesday calling Hamer's comments "vulgar and degrading."

Crutchfield went on to say "Hamer is in NO WAY familiar with me."  She said the word "familiar" was offensive, misleading, and present her character in a negative manner.

Cash corroborated that he did not believe Crutchfield had a romantic relationship with Hamer.

Cash's executive cabinet and administrative staff were in attendance.

According to the MCS report, at least two employees told investigators that Hamer had occasionally made sexual jokes and "comments that have been interpreted to be sexual in nature."

He was also accused of making an inappropriate comment to a school district employee in September 2011. However, the report doesn't elaborate on that claim.

After Hamer sent the apology letter, he hired an attorney and would not interview with internal investigators.

Cash gave Crutchfield time off to cope with what happened.  It is unclear if she has returned to work.

MCS hasn't announced if it has accepted Hamer's resignation.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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