Minister Takes Stand in Harassment Trial
Posted March 4, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST
CARY — The Reverend Ed Privette had the opportunity to answer charges of sexual harassment in court Tuesday. Some office workers at Cary's White Plains United Methodist Church have accused Privette of touching them inappropriately.
Privette denies that he did anything wrong in his relationships with two secretaries and a receptionist. He admits he was affectionate with the women, but claims there was never any intent to go further.
The former church workers appeared to be very upset as the minister told his side of the story. Privette responded to questions about specific instances of harassment.
The three plaintiffs are suing the pastor for assault and battery and are asking for damages. They testified that Privette started with friendly hugs and moved on to groping, kissing and massaging. Privette says the women simply didn't understand his intentions.
The pastor appeared cool and confidant, but said these accusations could seriously damage his professional life.
Privette's accusers sat in the front row during Tuesday's proceedings and seemed very frustrated as the minister spoke. The plaintiffs have finished their case. The defense should be prepared to rest by Friday.