Eau Claire County District Attorney To Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

Gary King Announces Resignation 3 Weeks After Gov. Tony Evers Appoints Court Commissioner To Investigate Complaints

A gavel in a courtroom.
Joe Gratz (CC0 1.0)

Eau Claire County District Attorney Gary King, who is being investigated for sexually harassing employees and being intoxicated in court, will resign from office in August.

In a letter sent to employees Friday, King said he will step down from his position Aug. 14.

“I feel this decision is in the best interest of the office,” wrote King. “It is my hope that this decision will allow the work of the office to move forward without further distraction.”

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King had been the focus of a sexual harassment investigation since Feb. 10. After an employee had asked the county’s human resources department for assistance in addressing her concerns about King’s behavior, an outside attorney was hired to write an investigatory report.

The report contained interviews with unnamed employees in the district attorneys office that cited instances where King had rubbed a female employee’s foot when she had taken a shoe off, pulled her onto his lap and asked her if she would participate in a threesome with him and a resident living nearby the county courthouse.

On Feb. 24, King was notified of the investigation and was told “not to have any direct one-to-one contact” with employees until further notice.

King was also interviewed during the county’s investigation in February. The report said King was cooperative and sent copies of emails he thought showed a good working relationship with his staff. He said he considered the complainant a friend he could confide in and that he had been under a lot of stress due to work and family issues.

The report stated that while King may have considered the woman a friend, it didn’t give him license to “cross the line” and engage in inappropriate statements, bantering or acts of harassment.

Part of the investigation into King’s behavior also centered around accusations that he appeared intoxicated at work and in court. King reportedly fell asleep during a court Zoom meeting. The judge ordered him to take a breath test, which showed he had a blood alcohol level of .047.

On June 18, Gov. Tony Evers announced the appointment of a court commissioner to investigate after receiving written complaints brought against the Eau Claire County district attorney. That investigation is ongoing.