Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, James Finchum, Matthew 25, National, News, Race, Racial Discrimination, sexual harassment -

Nonprofit Leader Resigns After Repeatedly Harassing Black Employee Including Masturbating In Front of Her

Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, James Finchum, Matthew 25, National, News, Race, Racial Discrimination, sexual harassment -

Nonprofit Leader Resigns After Repeatedly Harassing Black Employee Including Masturbating In Front of Her

James Finchum Sexual Harassment
James Finchum resigned in January amid allegations he repeatedly sexually harassed and assaulted a Black female employee. (Image courtesy of The Tennessean)

The leader of a Nashville nonprofit resigned amid allegations he repeatedly sexually harassed a Black female employee, including an instance where the woman said he masturbated in front of her at his office.

James Finchum, the former executive director of nonprofit group Matthew 25, resigned in January, but the accusations against him were made public this week in a federal lawsuit naming him and the organization as defendants, The Tennessean reported.

The employee, only identified as “Jane Doe,” claims she was subjected to ongoing sexual harassment and assault while working for the nonprofit, which houses and feeds homeless men. The group also has ties to the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee.

According to the complaint, Finchum exposed himself, groped the woman and allegedly made sexually suggestive comments toward her for more than a year. The lawsuit also details a December 2016 incident where Finchum called “Jane Doe” into his office, started massaging her and then “grabbed Plaintiff’s hand and placed it on his groin area, through his pants.”

“He then unzipped his pants, exposed his penis to Plaintiff and masturbated in front of her,” the complaint states.

Months later, in April, Finchum allegedly “approached Plaintiff from behind and held himself against her buttocks and hunched against her until his pants became wet,” according to the lawsuit. It states the woman also faced racial and gender discrimination, claiming Finchum once told “Jane Doe,” who is Black, about dating another Black woman who handcuffed him during sex.

“White employees were not subjected to the type of assault and battery Plaintiff was,” the lawsuit states. “Defendant Finchum made references to Plaintiff’s race in the context of his harassment directed toward Plaintiff.”

The employee said Matthew 25 failed to protect her from Finchum, even after she complained about his inappropriate behavior. She’s seeking a jury trial and financial compensation for damages, according to The Tennessean.

Matthew 25’s attorney, Tracy M. Lujan, has denied this, saying the organization’s board of directors took swift action upon learning of the alleged sexual harassment.

“Matthew 25 has been sensitive to and supportive of the complaining employee, who remains in her position today,” Lujan said in a statement. “Matthew 25 has a strong anti-harassment policy. It takes employee complaints very seriously, and it is committed to supporting all of its staff members.”

Finchum is also under a separate ongoing investigation by Nashville police.


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