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Brandon Drake: County Response 'Distraction' From Harassment Issue

Empty Amanda Barge chair at commission

Amanda Barge did not attend a county commissioners' meeting this week following allegations she sexually harassed a contractor. Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News (Zach Herndon, WFIU/WTIU News)

The independent contractor who accused Monroe County Commissioner Amanda Barge of sexually harassing him says his job performance has nothing to do with the allegations he made against Barge.

Allegations published in the Indiana Daily Student earlier this week describe Brandon Drake’s account of what happened. He says Barge hit on him and shut him out professionally when he was working as an independent contractor for the county and he refused to date her.

Barge has denied the allegations.

The Monroe County legal department issued a six-page statement Thursday detailing Drake’s work in response to the allegations made against Barge, although it only focused on his job performance.

Drake says the county’s response is a distraction from the real issue.

"My job performance, who wouldn’t come to work disgruntled? Who wouldn’t come to work and have a poor job performance if you had to wonder everyday if you’re going to be harassed," Drake says.  

Drake says his decision to make his allegations against Barge public wasn’t politically motivated. He says he fell into a depression for several weeks last year after the exchanges took place. Drake says he then sought the advice of attorneys, who took several months researching his case before telling him he had no legal recourse. Because Drake was an independent contractor for the county, federal anti-discrimination laws that protect against sexual harassment don’t cover him.

Drake says that made him feel like he had no other option than to turn to a local news outlet to make his story public, in the hopes of holding Barge accountable and sparking change.

"When the county council, the county commissioners, the city council and the mayor all come together and they draft  legislation to make sure that everybody that’s ever signed a contract with any company in this city is protected, that’s the day that I will say I got everything I want," says Drake. 

Drake provided the Indiana Daily Student with emails, text messages and audio recordings between himself and Barge.

Barge suspended her Bloomington mayoral campaign Tuesday amid the allegations, but says she doesn’t plan to stop serving as a county commissioner.

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