Jazmyne Childs cries during a news conference on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019, as she describes the sexual harassment she says she endured while employed by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, in Raleigh, N.C. She is asking the national NAACP to expel the man whom she identified as the person who assaulted and harassed her. (AP Photo/Martha Waggoner)

The Latest: Suspended NAACP candidate defends himself

September 26, 2019 - 7:52 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the sexual harassment complaint within the North Carolina NAACP (all times local):

7:50 p.m.

The man suspended from the NAACP because of claims that he sexually harassed a former employee in the civil rights organization's national office says he'll seek a hearing to clear his name.

In a text message to The Associated Press, the Rev. Curtis Gatewood says "the allegations are totally false." He accused the past president, the Rev. William Barber, of bringing out the allegations in the days before the Oct. 5 race for president of the state NAACP in order to help the other candidate.

Gatewood was challenging the incumbent, the Rev. T. Anthony Spearman. His membership suspension means he can't run for office.

At a news conference Wednesday, Jazmyne Childs named Gatewood as the supervisor who began harassing her shortly after she started her job in January 2017. On Thursday, the national NAACP said it was suspending Gatewood from membership.

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6:20 p.m.

The national NAACP says a candidate for president of the civil rights organization's state chapter has been suspended from membership as it investigates a sexual harassment claim against him.

In a statement posted Thursday on its website, the Baltimore-based organization says the membership of the Rev. Curtis Gatewood is suspended immediately, pending a hearing about the sexual harassment claim by a former employee of the North Carolina NAACP.

Jazmyne Childs named Gatewood as the person who harassed her. Gatewood has denied the allegation. He didn't respond to a text, email or Facebook message seeking comment.

Gatewood was running against the incumbent in the Oct. 5 election for the state NAACP president.

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12:40 p.m.

The national NAACP says it's looking into a complaint about sexual harassment within the North Carolina chapter of the civil rights group.

In an email Thursday, a spokesman said the Baltimore-based organization began an internal disciplinary process after it received a formal complaint "alleging sexual impropriety" from the North Carolina NAACP on Sept. 11.

A former employee of the North Carolina NAACP said at a news conference on Wednesday that her supervisor sexually harassed her. Jazmyne Childs named the Rev. Curtis Gatewood as the person who harassed her. Gatewood has denied the allegation.

Gatewood is challenging the Rev. Anthony Spearman for president of the state chapter. The election is Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, women from the state chapter are traveling to Baltimore on Thursday to demand Gatewood's expulsion from the NAACP.

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