The Mazzoni Center has hired a third party to investigate the sexual harassment allegations against its former interim CEO, Stephen Glassman.

"It is my hope that moving the investigation to an independent third party will allow any employee who would like to discuss any concerns related to sexual harassment to do so fully, and as comfortably as possible," current chief executive Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino said in an email to donors and supporters late last week. A Mazzoni spokesman confirmed the email.

The third party is Verita LLC, based in Malvern. Its website says it offers "independent and unbiased factual investigations" into workplace complaints. The group says it typically interviews witnesses, reviews documents, and provides a written report to the employer, which can then determine whether company policy or the law was violated.

The allegations against Glassman came up two weeks ago at the Philadelphia LGBTQ State of the Union during a question-and-answer session with Gonzalez Sciarrino.

A question written anonymously on an index card asked how she was responding to allegations that Glassman had sexually harassed 10 employees, according to a Mazzoni employee and a former staffer who were present at the session.

Stephen Glassman
Mazzoni Center
Stephen Glassman

Details about the alleged harassment — such as the nature of it, who may have been victimized and during what time period — were not discussed, and Mazzoni officials have not provided additional information. It also wasn't clear who wrote the question on the card or how that person knew about the alleged harassment.

Glassman, who served as Mazzoni's interim CEO for nearly nine months and left after Gonzalez Sciarrino was hired in March, has called the allegations "entirely false" and said he welcomed a thorough investigation.

Glassman declined to comment Monday about the hiring of the investigator. He did, however, speak about a separate inquiry that Mazzoni made last year after an employee filed a formal complaint about a comment he made.

Glassman said he had complimented the employee on a costume at an office Halloween party.

Glassman said he didn't realize the comment would be offensive and he apologized when he learned the employee was upset. He said he spoke to the nonprofit's human resources director and its board president, Christopher Pope, and explained what had happened. They determined no wrongdoing had occurred and decided against disciplinary action, Glassman said.

Glassman did not describe exactly what he said to the employee.

Mazzoni spokesman Larry Benjamin said in a statement Monday: "To date we know of one employee who made a formal complaint about one comment made to them, which they felt was inappropriate. To protect the privacy of the employee involved, we cannot comment further."

Pope could not be reached for comment.

In her letter, Gonzalez Sciarrino said anyone with information on the sexual harassment allegations should contact Verita LLC by June 29 to arrange a meeting at Mazzoni or offsite.

Gonzalez Sciarrino has said she did not know about the allegations — which she called "deeply disturbing" — prior to two weeks ago.

Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino is pictured at Mazzoni's headquarters in the 1300 block of Bainbridge Street on May 25.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino is pictured at Mazzoni's headquarters in the 1300 block of Bainbridge Street on May 25.

The accusations are the latest scandal to rock Mazzoni, Philadelphia's largest LGBT health-care provider.

The center's former and longtime CEO, Nurit Shein, was forced out last year amid outcry over how she responded to allegations of sexual misconduct involving Mazzoni's former medical director, Robert Winn, who resigned.

Shein was also accused of fostering a racially hostile environment at the center, where black employees described being singled out for disciplinary action and facing retaliation for filing complaints.