Investigation reveals ‘no evidence’ county manager sexually harassed employee

Investigation reveals ‘no evidence’ county manager sexually harassed employee

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - An investigation into sexual harassment claims against Columbus County Manager Mike Stephens “revealed no evidence confirming the substance of the complaint,” according to county attorney Amanda Prince.

In an emailed statement Wednesday morning, Prince added that she is not allowed to release any additional information regarding the investigation.

The investigation stemmed from a detailed, four-page timeline written by board of elections employee Portia Bowen on Jan. 6 — which was distributed to the Columbus County Board of Elections and County Commission with a cover letter written by CCBOE director Carla Strickland — accusing Stephens of offering Bowen, through a third party, a raise in exchange for sexual favors.

After sending the letter detailing the allegations, Bowen, as well as a fellow employee who was aware of the alleged interactions, submitted their notice of resignation. WECT previously reported that Bowen planned to work through the end of July.

Stephens has worked for the county since 2009, and was originally hired as the county attorney. He was named county manager in 2017.

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