Share this article

print logo

Woman in Dirschberger rape case says county failed to protect employees

The woman who has accused former Erie County Social Services Commissioner Albert Dirschberger of rape contends Erie County officials allowed previous harassment from him.

She filed a legal notice of her intent to sue the county for unspecified damages.

Her court papers said she was subjected to "repeated rape and physical assault by her supervisor."

Dirschberger's defense team maintains the former commissioner is innocent of the charges.

"Dr. Dirschberger pled 'not guilty' and he remains 'not guilty,' " said Buffalo attorney Nicholas A. Romano, of the Connors law firm. "The wheels of justice are turning. Dr. Dirschberger is still looking forward to his day in Court and having the opportunity to fully defend himself."

The notice of claim against Erie County accuses county administrators of being negligent for "being aware of sexual harassment and/or abuse by Al Dirschberger while being employed by Erie County, and negligently allowing said conduct to continue unabated."

The claim further states the county was notified of prior sexual harassment and abuse of county employees and "failed to take the necessary actions" to protect them, allowing a hostile work environment to exist in the department.

[Read: Notice of Claim in Dirschberger case]

The county does not generally comment on pending litigation, county spokesman Peter Anderson said in response to the legal notice.

He added, however, that "the county executive and this office are not aware of any prior claims of harassment/abuse alleged to have been committed by Al Dirschberger."

A January indictment accuses the former Erie County Social Services commissioner of raping one of his employees – a woman who was unable to give consent to sex, according to the grand jury – while the two attended a work-related conference in Albany.

Former county social services head pleads not guilty to raping employee

The 28-year-old woman works in the Children's Services division of Social Services and attended a conference Dec. 5-6. She has been on paid administrative leave. She was one of five Social Services employees attending a midweek conference in Albany focused on how to improve the lives of children in foster care.

The Buffalo News does not publish the names of those who have alleged a sex crime without their consent.

County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has previously said he was unaware of the police investigation into the matter until Dec. 23. He launched an internal investigation at that time. Five days later, Poloncarz said, he demanded Dirschberger's resignation.

Romano has previously stated the former commissioner has been maligned by "unsupported, wild, and outrageous rumors" out of keeping with Dirschberger's decade-long track record of being a "champion for women."

Dirschberger paid large bar tab on night he is accused of raping employee

There are no comments - be the first to comment