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Former intern said Virg Bernero harassed her almost every day. Now she's suing.

Posted at 10:42 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 10:42:22-04

LANSING, Mich. —

Elizabeth Hart filed a lawsuit against her former boss and Lansing's former mayor, Virg Bernero, alleging that he sexual harassed her and touched her inappropriately when she was an intern on his reelection campaign in 2013 and 2014.

In an interview with FOX47, Hart's attorney, Manda Danieleski said, "I can tell you that her damages are significant. What happened to her was life-changing."

In April, Hart spoke to FOX47 about the alleged sexual assault and harassment she experienced from Bernero.

Elizabeth Hart

She said the harassment would come nearly every day,

"It happened probably like... every single time, like 98 percent of the time," she said.

The lawsuit lays it out in graphic detail.

"The Defendant would call her late at night and Plaintiff had to constantly fend off sexual conversations, advances, and requests from him."

"That Defendant sexually assaulted Plaintiff by touching her foot in a sexual manner with sexual intent on two occasions."

"That Defendant asked her to show him one of her breasts."

"That Defendant asked Plaintiff to engage in a threesome."

Lawsuit against Virg Bernero

Danieleski says they're not seeking a specific dollar amount from Bernero, but it will be an excess of $25,000.

Bernero and his team declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Bernero has never explicitly denied any of the allegations in Hart's lawsuit, but has said in social media posts following accusations by Hart and other women that he's "made mistakes."

According to Danieleski, Hart and Bernero haven't seen each other face to face or spoken to one another since 2016.

If this lawsuit goes so far as a deposition or a trial, it would be the first time the two have interacted in more than 5 years.

According to Danieleski, Hart and Bernero haven't seen each other face to face or spoken to one another since 2016.

Danieleski says the main point of this lawsuit is to hold Bernero accountable and make sure people in power know that there are tangible consequences for assault and harassment.

"Him saying he's a changed, man, that's not enough," Danieleski said.

"That's not enough for him to say it. In fact, I think the statements he's made to the media are fairly narcissistic because he's talking about how he has changed and how his life has improved. But as it would relate to Ms. Hart, Where does that leave her?"

Danieleski says the main point of this lawsuit is to hold Bernero accountable

Danieleski said she expects a jury trial in roughly 13 months.

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