Michigan Radio analyst accused of sexual harassment, resigns
Jack Lessenberry, a journalism professor at Wayne State University and political analyst for Michigan Radio, has resigned from his positions amid sexual harassment allegations.
Penny Bowler, a former WSU student quoted in the Deadline Detroit article that originally broke the story, claimed Lessenberry offered a ride home in 2006 and 2007 and inquired if she had a boyfriend. Bowler did not.
According to Bowler, Lessenberry proceeded to tell her some students are willing to “do anything to get an A” and touched her without her consent.
According to an article from The Detroit News, Lessenberry is accused of making inappropriate comments and attention toward women while employed as an editor at the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Minneapolis and as a WSU professor.
The original Deadline Detroit article also reported that 14 women have come forward with allegations against Lessenberry, occurring over about a 30-year period, including forced kissing and inquiries about past and current romantic partners.
In an article with the headline “Michigan State needs cultural, systemic change,” Lessenberry wrote about what he felt was a narrow-minded culture regarding the scandal.
“What it reveals is a remarkably insular culture in which the president, the provost, and many of the deans had earned their final degrees at Michigan State,” Lessenberry wrote.
University spokeswoman Kim Broekhuizen said Lessenberry’s responsibilities with Michigan Radio will end immediately, with an official resignation July 31.
“Michigan Radio announced Wednesday that news analyst Jack Lessenberry will end his relationship with Michigan Radio,” Broekhuizen said. “By mutual agreement, Mr. Lessenberry’s responsibilities as a contracted contributor to Michigan Radio will end immediately. Mr. Lessenberry will officially resign from Michigan Radio effective July 31.”
Lessenberry’s profile on WSU’s website states he has written previously for Vanity Fair, Esquire, The New York Times, among other publications.
Lessenberry did not respond to The Daily’s request for comment.
This is a developing story. Please check back at michigandaily.com for more updates.