Attorney General Kathleen Kane promoted a top aide to serve as her chief of staff despite a report from her internal affairs unit informing her he had made unwanted sexual advances to two female colleagues, The Inquirer has learned.
The report summarized the findings of an internal investigation that found Jonathan Duecker had groped one woman and made improper sexual advances to another, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
That document was sent to Kane the weekend before she promoted Duecker, a onetime supervisor of narcotics agents, to chief of staff, the sources said.
Duecker, 51, could not be reached for comment Friday night. Previously, he declined repeated requests for comment.
Kane spokesman Chuck Ardo said Friday he did not know whether the office had conducted a formal inquiry into the women's allegations.
"I have no idea whether there was an investigation or not," he said. "I just have no knowledge of that."
The Office of Professional Responsibility sent its report to Kane five days before she announced she was promoting Duecker to the $140,421-a-year post, the sources said.
The report described allegations by two women, including an assistant prosecutor, who said Duecker made inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances toward them.
Asked about the allegations by the prosecutor, Ardo said Duecker had "a different interpretation of what is publicly known," and was "awaiting the process to take its course before he comments."
Earlier Friday, Ardo declined to comment when asked whether there had been a formal investigation of Duecker.
He said supervisors had conducted an "informal review" in early 2014 after Deputy Attorney General Michele Kluk complained to a supervisor that Duecker had made unwanted sexual advances.
Ardo said that review concluded "no further action was warranted."
He said Kane was told that before she promoted Duecker from his position as supervisor of the office's 150 narcotics agents.
Of Kane's decision to promote Duecker, he said, "She operated on the information that she had at the time."
Though Ardo declined to say whether the 2014 review had affirmed or rejected the allegations, other sources said the review never resolved the case one way or the other.
Duecker remains chief of staff and has Kane's full confidence, Ardo said.
In an interview Thursday, Kluk, 34, said she told a superior in February 2014 that Duecker had slipped his hand underneath her blouse at a Hazleton bar where she, Duecker, and some colleagues had gathered. He also tried to caress her leg under her skirt, she said.
She said she made her complaint within a few days of the encounter.
Guidelines from the Human Relations Commission on state law governing sexual harassment say employers should take "immediate and appropriate corrective action" when one employee harasses another.
In the other case, the woman told supervisors Duecker had sexually harassed her, according to people familiar with the woman's account. It was not clear when the second woman came forward.
The woman, an agent, reported that Duecker made unwanted advances toward her in a house the Attorney General's Office rented in Hazleton for agents working with the Mobile Street Crimes unit, sources said.
She said that when she and Duecker were there one evening, he put his hand on her leg. At that point, she said, she stood and left for her room.
She said she later awoke to find Duecker in the room, the sources said. When she asked him what he was doing, he said he was making sure she knew he was leaving, and then he left the room.
Ardo said he was unaware of the second allegation.
Kane, whose tenure has been marked by a revolving door of top staff and communications personnel, announced Duecker's promotion to chief of staff on April 22. He replaced Blake Rutherford, who quit after only four months on the job.
Duecker, formerly a counterterrorism expert on the staff of Congress, was hired by Kane when she took office in 2013. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and has a law degree.