DEARBORN, Mich. -

Local civil rights leader Imad Hamad says he's retiring from his position as Director of the Michigan office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

The move comes as Hamad faces serious allegations of sexual harassment.

"I was known with the man with the hat, not with the mask so to be quote unquote ugly monster or person, that some people are trying to project," said Hamad.

Hamad said the allegations that he sexually harassed 15 women over the years while serving as the director of the Michigan office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has created a whirlwind of trouble.

"The past six months have been very painful, full of agony and pain to myself personally, my family, my daughters, my wife and community," Hamad said.

The pressure became too much, so Hamad is stepping down. He announced his retirement on Friday.

"Unfounded allegations distracted the organization and caused a great deal of division so time came to take a step forward and say for the sake of the organization, for the sake of the cause and the unity and the better tomorrow, here you go. I declare my retirement," said Hamad.

Hamad was accused of attacking female employees and other women who came to the organization for help. In 2007, a case was thrown out after an investigation into sexual harassment.

For 17 years, Hamad led the ADC. He believes his good work speaks for itself and his desire to do good will not be tainted.

"If people like to continue chewing on it and dwelling on it, that's their business. They are free to do what they want, but I trust people are good and they will not forget the good," said Hamad.