Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has asked the County Legislature chairman to launch a special investigation into whether former Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger sexually harassed county employees prior to him being charged with raping a subordinate.
The request comes on the heels of a legal claim against the county from the woman who stated she was subjected to "repeated rape and physical assault" by Dirschberger. In her claim, she alleged the county was aware of "prior actions" in which Dirschberger harassed employees, and the county did not take necessary actions to protect them.
"The county appointed a special counsel to negotiate a Bills lease deal," Mychajliw said. "There's no reason we shouldn't do the same for a rape case."
On Tuesday, county spokesman Peter Anderson said in response to the legal notice, "The county executive and this office are not aware of any prior claims of harassment/abuse alleged to have been committed by Al Dirschberger."
The Comptroller's Office does not have the authority to hire an outside investigator to investigate any claim that Dirschberger may have been involved in prior incidents of employee harassment. But Mychajliw said that he believes the Legislature and Legislature Chairman Peter Savage, D-Buffalo, will recognize the severity of this matter and be agreeable to hiring one.
"It would be very hard for the administration to investigate the administration," said the Republican comptroller. "We need an independent set of eyes with zero connections to Erie County government."