This story has been updated.
During Tuesday night’s widely attended LGBTQ State of the Union at the Kimmel Center, LGBTQ healthcare nonprofit Mazzoni Center was hit with renewed controversy involving a sexual harassment claim against Stephen Glassman, its former interim executive director.
Following formal presentations by various nonprofits, community members were encouraged to stay for individualized breakout sessions with an LGBTQ organization of their choice. A reporter for Philadelphia magazine was present during Mazzoni’s breakout session, at which attendees were encouraged to write anonymous questions on notecards that were read aloud by a moderator for upper-level management and the board of directors to answer.
In a room with roughly 30 people, a mix of community members and Mazzoni staff and board members, someone addressed this question to CEO/executive director Lydia Gonzalez Sciarrino and board president Christopher Pope: “Were you aware of sexual harassment allegations made by 10 employees [against] Stephen Glassman?”
At first, Sciarrino seemed to presume that the question was in reference to former medical director Robert Winn, who resigned last year following a still-active investigation into sexual harassment claims against him, by telling the audience that “there is currently an outside investigation that has been taking place for nearly a year involving the former medical director.” The moderator quickly corrected Sciarrino and repeated Glassman’s name.
(Glassman did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Philadelphia magazine on Thursday, but in a story published late Thursday afternoon by Philadelphia Gay News, Glassman denied the allegations. “These anonymous allegations are entirely false and without any merit whatsoever, and I welcome a thorough investigation of these complaint,” he told the paper.)
Startled, Sciarrino quickly said this was “the first time” she was made aware of this and would “start investigating this right away tomorrow.” Pope chimed in and said that the board was “not aware of this until now.” Mazzoni’s board secretary, who is also an attorney, advised both Sciarrino and Pope “not to say anything further on the matter” and added that she also “was personally not aware of the allegations before tonight.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Sciarrino sent out a staff-wide email addressing the allegation without naming the accused individual:
Good Afternoon Mazzoni Center Employees,
At last night’s LGBTQ State of the Union Community Conversation, I was stunned by allegations of sexual harassment made by an unknown source. Therefore, I wanted to make it clear to each of our employees that I take these types of allegations, and frankly, all your concerns, very seriously. You can be assured I will do my best to thoroughly investigate these allegations and to the extent necessary, take prompt action to address them. However, I will need your help to do so.
If you feel you have been subjected to any form of harassment or have any similar concerns, please come forward and let us know. It is difficult to act if we do not have information. We have policies and procedures in place that you should feel fully comfortable accessing. Copies were provided to all our employees in the past. I also have attached them for you to review again and use. Also, to be clear, no Mazzoni Center employee will never [sic] be negatively impacted by using these policies and procedures or raising concerns of any kind. Period.
My door is always open to each of you to express your concerns, including allegations of sexual harassment. The Human Resources department is also available for you to access. In addition there is a hotline available for your use; but if your concerns are made anonymously, our opportunity to investigate and take action will be significantly impaired.
Again, please let me know of your concerns and I will respond to them.
A Mazzoni spokesperson on Thursday confirmed that Glassman is the subject of the organization’s investigation but had no comment on the nature or scope of the alleged harassment.
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