*The incidents surrounding the sexual harassment and battery case involving Tony Wafford, Rev. Al Sharpton’s West Coast Director of the National Action Network, keeps getting more interesting.
Wafford took a leave of absence from the organization Thursday after former employee Sharon Song Byrd won a sexual harassment case against him. Some are speculating as to why Wafford was not outright fired.
In a statement released yesterday, NAN contends that it was only informed of the sexual harassment case involving Wafford a week ago at which time the matter was investigated by NAN’s general counsel.
(Scroll down to read the full statement.)
As EUR and Betty Pleasant reported in her Soulvine column in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper, the National Black Women’s Network, the South Central L. A. Progressive Movement and the Sistahs of the Black Liberation Movement are incensed that Wafford is still associated with NAN and plan to boycott the organization. The women called Wafford a “sexual deviant and pervert and should not be in a leadership role with any respectable leader.”
Meanwhile, Byrd came out with “zero” monies on several charges. Byrd asked local law enforcement to investigate the battery charge against Wafford, but he was not charged. Byrd then filed a worker’s compensation claim for her injury, (her hand was injured by Wafford at her workplace), but it was denied. Byrd then filed a civil claim against her employer, and the employer chose to settle out of court.
Byrd received no dollars for pain and suffering, for future economic damages or for punitive damages.
However, the court did grant Byrd $23,000 for payment of her medical bills. The jury was not, for legal reasons, given information that the employer had previously settled with Ms. Byrd for an amount far in excess of $23,000.
NAN stated that Wafford plans to appeal any change in the jury verdict.
Paulette Simpson Gipson, representing of the Compton NAACP, said she feels Wafford should have been fired.
“I don’t believe that a national organization or any civil rights organization should condone or tolerate that kind of behavior,” said Gipson. “It doesn’t send a clear message that this (behavior) is not acceptable. I think a clear message should be sent. I just think that they (NAN) should take a stand,” said Gibson.
In another interesting turn of events, NAN also said in the statement that calls have been received from “various persons” asking for funds relating to the case and that those calls have been referred to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office for a possible criminal investigation for extortion. Further, NAN said that it had no involvement in the matter related to Mr. Wafford, nor would the alleged conduct be tolerated. The statement also said that NAN would not be exploited by anyone trying to capitalize on the sexual harassment case.
The full NAN statement on Tony Wafford issued on Thursday, July 21, 2011:
Tony Wafford has taken a leave of absence from National Action Network (NAN) effective today. We were only informed of the case involving Mr. Wafford a week ago at which time the matter was investigated by NAN’s General Counsel.
Calls have been received within the course of a week from various persons asking for funds relating to this case and those calls have been referred to the Los Angeles District Attorneys office for a possible criminal investigation for extortion. NAN had no involvement in the matter related to Mr. Wafford, nor would the alleged conduct be tolerated. However, we will not be exploited by those trying to capitalize on the matter.