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Michigan Radio commentator Jack Lessenberry resigns from Metro Times amid WSU allegations

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Longtime Michigan journalist Jack Lessenberry has resigned from the Metro Times.

This comes after a Deadline Detroit storythat accused Lessenberry of having inappropriate interactions with female colleagues. He was a columnist for the Metro Times, though he did not work in the office.

The Deadline Detroit story cited allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior over the course of almost 30 years. One accusation includes inappropriate physical contact; others cite inappropriate remarks.

Lessenberry is also a professor at Wayne State University. He says he asked the school to conduct an investigation into charges he says are without merit. He has voluntarily stepped away from his duties at WSU while the investigation takes place.

Lessenberry is a senior news analyst at Michigan Radio. The University of Michigan, which owns the license for Michigan Radio, released this statement:

We are aware of media reports that make allegations against Jack Lessenberry in his role as a journalism instructor at Wayne State University. Michigan Radio and the University of Michigan are committed to a workplace free of harassing behavior. We take all reports of sexual misconduct seriously and the university has a well-established process to investigate such claims through the U-M Office for Institutional Equity. Jack Lessenberry is a contracted contributor to Michigan Radio. In this instance, we have thoroughly checked University of Michigan and Michigan Radio records and there have been no sexual misconduct complaints made regarding Mr. Lessenberry. Michigan Radio will continue to air Mr. Lessenberry’s political commentaries during our ongoing assessment of this situation.

EDITOR NOTE: To avoid any conflict of interest, this story was reported by Cheyna Roth, who is not an employee of Michigan Radio, and edited by Peter Payette of Interlochen Public Radio. Michigan Radio added the UM statement to the story.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R