Niagara County DA sued for harassment resigns

Niagara County DA sued for harassment resigns
Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-21 14:56:08-04

Michael Violante, the Niagara County District Attorney, is expected to resign on Monday.

Claude Joerg, a county attorney, tells 7 Eyewitness News he spoke to Violante Monday. He says Violante told him he had signed all of the necessary documents to resign and will be turning those into the clerk’s office.

Joerg says Deputy District Attorney Theodore Brenner is named in the documents by Violante to become the acting district attorney.

Violante is being sued by the former sex crimes prosecutors of his office, Elizabeth Donatello, who says she was sexually harassed by Violante.

In a federal complaint, Donatello says Violante would discuss facelifts and boob jobs, put his arm around her and stared at her chest, saying, “Not that you have to worry about getting a boob job.”

Donatello claims Violante’s bad behavior had been going on since he was first elected 2008. She cited a conversation in April 2013 about a rape case where the victim was drunk and unconscious when she was attacked.

According to Donatello, Violante said, “Can you believe we’re prosecuting this $%^&? That’s what boys do; You try to get the girl drunk and then have sex.”

Donatello also claims she was treated unfairly because she is a woman. She says she told the DA about how one of her co-worker’s lack of effort was allowing criminals to go free, pointing out that this male co-worker was making tens of thousands of dollars more than her and wasn’t pulling his weight.

She says the DA told her to look for a new job, because she was fired. Days later, Donatello says Violante asked her to return, but she was reassigned to a different job as retaliation for speaking up.