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Will Dann survive the crisis?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published April 17, 2008

While Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann was dismissing reporters' questions in Columbus about his possible resignation as "ridiculous," there was this comment tossed out in Youngstown that suggests the possibility of Dann's early departure: "If Marc's wife, Alyssa, wants him to resign to spare the children further pain, he'll do so."

And there will be further pain — if the sexual harassment claims made by two female employees of the Attorney General's Office against Anthony Gutierrez, director of General Services and a friend of Dann's from Liberty Township, move from being a civil matter to a criminal one.

The lawyer for one of the women has said that he is exploring the possibility of a criminal complaint based on his client's allegation that when she was in the condo with Gutierrez — Dann and his communications director and confidante, Leo Jennings, were condomates — she asked to lie down and was directed by Gutierrez to his bedroom. When she awoke, the buttons to her pants were undone and Gutierrez was lying next to her in his underwear, she claims.

If she alleges sexual abuse, Dann will be put in the position of having to answer these questions as part of the investigation: You allegedly invited Mr. Gutierrez and Ms. Cindy Stankowsi to the condo that night and you could see she had been drinking, did you do anything to protect her when she asked to lie down? Seeing as how she is your employee, as is Gutierrez, did you instruct him not to enter the room while she was asleep? Were you aware that he had gone into the room? If not, where were you? Was there anyone with you who can shed light on what took place that night?"

That's why Dann's future has become an issue for reporters. Will Dann survive this crisis? it depends on whether the sexual harassment claims remain a civil matter and whether Dann can prove that he was not an enabler.

Both Gutierrez and Jennings are on paid administratrative leave. 

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