Women demand change at NAACP amid harassment allegations

Several women in the North Carolina NAACP blasted the national civil rights organization Wednesday over what they call a pervasive and historic culture of sexual harassment, inappropriate touching and intimidation of women.

The group is demanding the civil rights organization to create a national policy on sexual harassment.

"It is unacceptable for us to have to stand here and say we do not -- within our beloved organization -- have in place a robust one that protects all of us in cases of sexual harassment," said Bishop Tonyia M. Rawls, an inaugural chair of the LGBTQ for NC NAACP.

The group pointed to a recent allegation involving a state NAACP employee and a high profile member.

In 2017, the state chapter launched an independent investigation.

In the report obtained exclusively by ABC11, the accuser says that during a two-year period, she was sexually harassed and intimidated by her supervisor.

One alleged harassment episode involved the supervisor rubbing his private parts against her backside while she was hunched over.

NC NAACP leaders said the alleged victim is having a difficult time coping but she is surrounded by support.

"Sexual harassment also leads to trauma," Rawls said. "And each one of us stand here today ... as women leaders of NAACP ... have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment throughout our careers. Both inside of and outside of our organization."

The supervisor resigned during the investigation.

The report concluded that the supervisor violated the state NAACP's sexual harassment policy.

Since then, the female leaders say they've repeatedly written letters and petitioned the national headquarters to ban the alleged abuser from membership and create an organization-wide policy on sexual harassment.

"Still no resolve, and so we are here saying no longer acceptable," Rawls said.

The female leaders said that next Thursday they will travel to NAACP headquarters in Baltimore to demand a meeting with the organization's president and board members.

The NAACP has not responded to ABC11's request for comment.
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