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Secret report details sexual-harassment allegations against Fraser mayor, councilman

FRASER, Mich. – A sealed report discussed by Fraser City Council members Thursday night details sexual-harassment allegations against the mayor and a councilman.

Four female employees describe an uncomfortable or hostile working relationship with Mayor Joe Nichols or Councilman Matt Hemelberg in the report.

The handwritten accounts of alleged incidents describe unwanted touching and comments made by the men.

One account accuses the mayor of hugs that were too long and too close, while another describes Hemelberg massaging the shoulders of a female employee.

Some women also accused the mayor of saying things such as, “Not everyone can wear leggings, but you can,” and “I’d like to bag that one.”

None of the employees want to talk publicly yet, but Nichols and Hemelberg are saying no one ever told them they felt uncomfortable. The men also said the allegations are part of a political witch hunt.

Hemelberg claims he was told if he voted a certain way on a budget, the issue would go away.

Lawyers for the men said the first step is to see whether the tribunal itself is legal or not.

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