- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Controversy continues to swirl around the head of a Michigan Arab-American civil rights group who faces a multitude of sexual-harassment charges, and the U.S. Department of Justice now taking an interest in the case.

“We view the allegations … as being very serious,” said Barbara McQuade, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, The Associated Press reported.

The investigation focuses on Imad Hamad, the director of state’s office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Mr. Hamad is accused by several women who worked at the ADC of sexual harassment that spanned a 15-year period. One alleged victim, Rana Abbas, 33, who worked as deputy director under Mr. Hamad until 2008, accused him of harassing her — and others — on a near-daily basis. She described the harassment as groping,  stroking hair, trying to plant kisses, making suggestive comments, and other forms of sexual and aggressive touching, AP reported.

The accusations have split the group. One board member has resigned, while another came forward in Mr. Hamad’s support, AP said. The federal oversight is a new level of pressure, however, even while the U.S. attorney’s office is withholding judgment so far.

“The investigation is in the hands of the ADC and we will reserve any comment on the matter until the investigation is complete,” Ms. McQuade said in the AP report.