The man expected to serve as the next sheriff of Philadelphia will probably have to pass a legal smell test before taking office.
A former legislative aide to state Rep. Jewell Williams sued the state in federal court last week, claiming that Williams insulted her religion, repeatedly tried to kiss her and then once sent her home from his district office when he didn't like the way she smelled.
Williams, in his sixth term representing the 197th District in North Philly, won the May 17 Democratic primary election for sheriff and is expected to win that post in the Nov. 8 general election.
Karan Rogers says she was an intern in the legislator's office in 2001 and 2002 and was hired in 2003 as a legislative assistant.
Her lawsuit, filed Thursday, said Williams, who is a Muslim, mocked her as being "overly Jesus."
Rogers also claimed that Williams, starting in 2007, repeatedly tried to kiss her in his office and that when she drove him to meetings, invited her several times on "recreational trips" and told her they would have to share a room while traveling for business.
Rogers complains that Williams in 2008 started asking her "what's that smell," approaching her to sniff her hair and urging other employees to smell her.
Rogers said she left work in November 2008 on medical leave and was fired from her job one month later after the state said it had not received medical information from her doctor.
Harriet Lessy, a spokeswoman for Williams, noted that the lawsuit had been filed against the state.
"The representative is not named in the suit and it would be inappropriate for him to comment on it," Lessy said by email.
Rogers filed complaints in February 2009 with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission and the state Human Relations Commission. Those complaints were dismissed in March.