Pennsylvania Education Board Leader Resigns After Assault Allegations
The chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Education resigned Thursday after accusations that he’d had inappropriate sexual relations with multiple teenage girls.
Multiple women told the Philadelphia Inquirer they had been sexually involved with the 68-year-old chairman, Larry Wittig, for an extended period of time beginning when they were minors and he was years their senior.
One of the women accusing the chairman refused to give up her anonymity, the other — Annette DeMichele — maintains that she began having a relationship with Wittig in 1981 after she had graduated high school. She claims that Wittig took her to a nude beach when she was 17, and told the Inquirer their relationship had continued for over a year while she attended the University of Pennsylvania, where Wittig served as her rowing coach and sexual partner.
The anonymous woman said she and Wittig had a sexual relationship when she was 16 and he was 29 for almost two years.
Another rower described Wittig as a creep who went after many of the girls on the team. “All of the time, he kept making passes at me,” former rower Margo Boyle said. “And I just, I blew him off. I didn’t mind the passes. But I just knew nothing was going to happen, because he was creepy.”
Wittig initially denied the accusations, but then admitted to having sex with one of the women. He maintains, however, that the relationship did not go on for a long period. “It was a lapse in judgment at one time,” he said according to the Inquirer.
“The alleged behavior that has come to light is reprehensible,” said a spokesman for the Pennsylvania governor. “The administration is in the process of identifying potential replacements for Mr. Wittig’s seat on the state board and will be designating a new chair in the very near future.”
Wittig’s retirement comes after countless other male politicians and bigwig personalities were also accused of sexual harassment, assault, or rape.
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