Legal Ethics

Prosecutor accused of sexual harassment gets his job back--for now


Five months after he was stripped of his prosecutorial powers due to a sexual harassment scandal, Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams is back in office.

Reams, who serves as the chief criminal prosecutor in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, is not out of the woods just yet. Reams reached an agreement with Assistant Attorney General Anne Edwards on Tuesday allowing him to return to work, reports the Associated Press. However, Edwards’ boss, Attorney General Joe Foster, will continue to work to have a judge permanently remove Reams from office.

Reams, who was accused of sexual harassment and misuse of funds, was initially suspended in November. According to the AP, Reams is accused of using lewd language and inappropriately touching female staffers, as well as retaliating against women who became pregnant.

Foster had hoped to keep Reams out of office until a judge could rule on his petition to remove Reams permanently. However, a Superior Court judge ruled against the bid. Last week, the state Supreme Court ruled against Foster, denying him an expedited hearing and a stay of the Superior Court judge’s ruling.

As part of the agreement, Reams will not be allowed to discipline staff members without consent from the county commissioners. Nor can he discipline assistant attorneys general unless Foster approves. “From the start of this matter, an important goal of our office has been to protect employees from retaliation or other adverse employment actions arising from their cooperation in our investigation,” Foster said in a statement to the AP yesterday. Foster also said that Reams will not face criminal charges.

Reams, through his attorney, Michael Ramsdell, vigorously denied the sexual harassment and misuse of funds allegations. They also maintained that Foster’s restrictions weren’t necessary because Reams would never retaliate against his employees. “I never saw that as a real concern whatsoever,” Ramsdell said to the AP.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “New Hampshire AG seeks to fast-track hearing on county attorney’s removal”

ABAJournal.com: “County attorney is ordered off the job amid investigation”

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