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Philadelphia officials have agreed to pay $127,500 to a former female employee of the Sheriff’s Office who last year sued the city claiming that repeated sexual harassment by Sheriff Jewell Williams rendered her emotionally broken and caused her to quit her job.

“The City of Philadelphia was the defendant in this case. The decision to settle was made by the Law Department. The settlement was in the best legal interests of the city after a careful analysis of the case,” a spokesperson for the Law Department said in an email Wednesday.

Lauri A. Kavulich, a lawyer representing Williams, 61, said he had no part in the decision to settle the suit brought by Marlaina Williams (no relation), 35, who was employed in the Sheriff’s Office in a variety of assignments from February 2013 to June 2017.

“The parties in the case decided to settle prior to the case proceeding. It does not mean that the allegations are true. The sheriff was prepared to fight this more aggressively,” Kavulich said.

The settlement led Mayor Jim Kenney to renew a call for Williams to resign from the office he has held since January 2012 and for which he is now seeking reelection.

“I have previously called for the sheriff to step down following multiple, credible complaints of harassment. In light of this latest settlement, my position remains the same. It is extremely important that all women feel safe and respected in their workplace,” Kenney said in an email Wednesday.



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