Hannibal councilman accused of assault and harassment, faces impeachment

Stephan Franke
Stephan Franke(WGEM)
Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 4:41 PM CST
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HANNIBAL (WGEM) - Hannibal councilmen are set to appoint a Special Prosecutor during Tuesday’s City Council meeting after Hannibal Mayor James Hark presents Articles of Impeachment against Third Ward Councilman Stephan Franke.

The articles alleged that Franke has violated his oath of office by physically assaulting both City Clerk Angel Zerbonia and City Manager Lisa Peck as well as making statements to other female city employees which constitute sexual harassment and created a hostile workplace.

Article I states that on May 4, 2021, following a verbal discussion with the city manager in which she challenged Franke’s statements, he grabbed her arm and squeezed it in an aggressive manner causing pain.

Article I also alleges that on December 7, 2021, Franke had a similar interaction with the city clerk after she also challenged statements made by him. The document states that Franke also grabbed her arm without permission or consent and that his actions constitute assault and created a hostile workplace.

Article II details multiple incidents in which Franke is accused of treating employees of the City of Hannibal contemptuously, showing sexual bias against female employees, and creating a hostile work environment.

Article II states that on June 2, 2021, during a meeting at City Hall in which the city clerk and city manager were both present, Franke made multiple references to a “Boobie Bar,” in a manner that was offensive to the female employees.

On June 8, 2021, Article II states that Franke demanded that the city manager accompany him on a walk in a manner that was oppressive and offensive to her and subjected her to a hostile work environment.

Article II also states during multiple meetings in October of 2021, Franke made several comments to the city manager that made her uncomfortable and appeared to be of a sexual nature. These comments included offers to come to her home to “help around the house,” “take out the trash,” and “fix things.” Article II also stated that Franke told the city manager he “think(s) about you all of the time.”

Article II also recounts an incident that allegedly happened in 2021 in which Franke informed another female employee that she should not be presenting before the City Council as she was “just a secretary.” The document states the comment constituted sexual bias and subjected the female employee to a hostile work environment.

The city has issued a summons for Franke to appear before the City Council on March 1 at 7 p.m. for a hearing.

Efforts by WGEM News to reach Franke on Monday were unsuccessful.

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