Missouri Ag Director Resigns After Harassment Allegations

FEBRUARY 27, 2007 - Posted at 7:55 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Agriculture director has resigned over accusations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

Agriculture Director Fred Ferrell stepped down yesterday at Governor Blunt's request, several days after details of the allegations were made public in court documents.

The lawsuit from a former employee accuses Ferrell of kissing her, saying he would like to see her in a wet T-shirt contest, and refusing to promote her.

The allegations against Ferrell first surfaced in May 2006. But they were not made public until former employee Heather Elder detailed them in her court filing Friday.

Blunt asked state law enforcement officers to investigate Elder's charges last year and reinstated Ferrell after the report was completed.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)