Larry Wittig resigned as chairman of Pennsylvania’s state board of education Thursday after the Philadephia Inquirer and Daily News published stories in which several women accused him of pursuing a sexual relationship with them when they were teenagers.
“The alleged behavior that has come to light is reprehensible,” said J.J. Abbott, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s spokesman after the governor accepted Wittig’s resignation.
The reports earlier this week quoted several women who said Wittig in the early 1980s made sexual advances toward them when they were teenage rowers at a boathouse he was a member of. Wittig, who runs an accounting practice and is president of a waste management company, joined the state board of education in 2001.
“All of the time, he kept making passes at me,” Margo Boyle, one of the rowers, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “And I just, I blew him off. I didn’t mind the passes. But I knew nothing was going to happen, because he was creepy.”
Wittig was charged in 1970, when he was 21, of raping a 15-year-old girl, but the charges were ultimately dropped, according to the newspaper. The woman recently maintained to a reporter that she was raped.
Wolf on Friday morning named two-term state board member Karen Farmer White to permanently replace Wittig as chair.
.@GovernorTomWolf today appointed Karen Farmer White of Pittsburgh as Chair of the State Board of Education, effective immediately. https://t.co/HnrBPgT3F2
— The Press Office (@GovernorsOffice) December 22, 2017
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.