NC State Senator Erica Smith accuses fellow lawmakers of harassment, assault, bullying

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- North Carolina Democratic State Senator Erica Smith is calling for members of the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) to be held accountable for what she describes as "workplace harassment, including claims of verbal assault, sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation and retaliation."

In a statement released Thursday, Smith claims she has endured being "yelled at, cursed out, bullied and badgered" by both Republican and Democratic members of the NCGA since 2015.

"The harmful atmosphere culminated in an egregious incident on September 11, 2019, when I was confronted... and was found to be the victim of a simple assault by the NCGA Police," Smith said in the statement.

The District 3 Senator said she filed grievances and reported the incidents to NCGA leaders and the Legislative Ethics Committee. ABC11 has reached out to NCGA Police, the Legislative Ethics Committee and NC General Assembly leaders for comment, but we have not yet received responses.

On Friday afternoon, a spokeswoman for Republican State Senator Phil Berger issued this comment to ABC11:

"The allegations of sexual harassment and physical abuse within the Senate Democratic caucus are very serious.

When Sen. Smith brought the complaints to Sen. Berger, he and his top staff met with her for hours. Following those sensitive discussions, Sen. Berger's office provided her with a four-page memo outlining her legal options and also offered to work with her on multiple next steps. The focus of this story remains to be allegations of conflict within the Senate Democratic caucus.

Smith said she plans to host a virtual public forum next Wednesday (June 3) evening, where she said she plans to discuss her experience in depth and provide more witness statements to what she calls "sexual, verbal and physical harassment suffered by victims at the NCGA and the measures that the institution has taken to cover up and silence voices."
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