Frederick Alderman Roger Wilson said he still plans to announce his candidacy for mayor on Jan. 15 while facing allegations raised by a fellow alderman that he has engaged in unwelcome advances, coercion and other inappropriate behavior with multiple women.
Wilson said Monday that the claims against him made him even more motivated to run.
A Democrat, Wilson intends to challenge incumbent Mayor Michael O’Connor, also a Democrat.
The allegations against Wilson were first raised by Alderman Ben MacShane (D) in a Dec. 26 Facebook post in which he said he’d heard from several women about their stories of inappropriate behavior by Wilson.
Shortly after MacShane’s Facebook post, O’Connor released a statement calling the allegations against Wilson “very serious” and saying they “do not keep the values and standards of the City of Frederick.”
In a statement released Monday, Wilson described MacShane’s post as an “ambush” and accused his board colleague of trying to “mobilize a mob on social media to destroy [his] reputation.”
“In my decades of professional and community service, I have never been the subject of a complaint that I am aware of,” Wilson wrote. “I support the right of every person who feels victimized or harassed by anyone to make a complaint. But Facebook should not be the place where these matters are adjudicated.”
The statement also singles out MacShane’s wife Kate for inviting people to a confidential Zoom meeting on Dec. 28 to share their experiences and “discuss options for justice and explore next steps.” Wilson said he was made aware of the meeting by someone who contacted one of his advisers.
The letter said the invitation described Kate MacShane as a clinical social worker and licensed psychotherapist. She is indeed a clinical social worker and licensed psychotherapist at the Maryland Center for Gender and Intimacy, according to the center’s website.
In a statement Monday night, Kate MacShane said her husband’s “work for racial, economic, and gender justice is widely recognized, so it’s no surprise to me that constituents came to him directly with their requests for support and advocacy.”
After the original Facebook post, Kate MacShane said they heard from enough women that they agreed it might be helpful to connect them with one another.
Kate MacShane said her experience as a social worker and therapist informed her organizing of the meeting.
“Women coming together for healing and collective action has always been threatening to men who abuse their power, and it seems that this is no exception,” she wrote in a statement to the News-Post.
The city announced last week that it will hire an outside firm to look into the allegations against Wilson.
Wilson said Monday that any investigation should include looking into Ben MacShane’s and O’Connor’s social media posts as well.
Ben MacShane said Monday night that he wasn’t sure how there could be any analysis of the situation without examining the two statements.
“Those were public statements,” he said.