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FOIL-AO-17301

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From:   Freeman, Robert (DOS)
Sent:    Monday, August 18, 2008 8:24 AM
To:      
Subject:           RE: Question re: sexual harassment

- -

Hope this isn’t too late - - I just returned from a week’s vacation.

Our opinion concerning a report indicating that allegations of sexual harassment could not be substantiated is that such a record may be withheld on the ground that disclosure would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.   If I understand the situation that you described correctly, the person who is the subject of the allegations wants to read the report aloud at an open meeting.   From my perspective, there may be privacy considerations pertinent not only to the subject of the report, but the person who made the allegations as well.  If it is believed that disclosure of the accuser’s identity would constitute an unwarranted invasion of his/her privacy, it is suggested that any public reading of the report be preceded by redaction of that person’s identity. 

Viewing the matter from a different perspective, I believe that it would be board’s decision to have the report read aloud, or to reject the subject’s request to do so, rather than that of the subject of the report.

I hope that this will be of assistance.  If you would like to discuss the matter, please feel free to
call.

Robert J. Freeman
Executive Director
Committee on Open Government
Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
Suite 650
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12231
Phone: (518)474-2518
Fax: (518)474-1927
Website: www.dos.ny.gov/coog/coogwww.html