Roanoke woman accuses former Gov. Doug Wilder of sexual harassment, Post reports

She says Wilder kissed her while she was a college student in 2017

By Jeff Williamson - Digital Content Manager

RICHMOND, Va. - A woman who grew up in Roanoke says former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder kissed her while she was in college, without her consent, in 2017, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reports that the alleged incident happened while Sydney Black, now 22, worked as an office assistant at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

Wilder, now 88 years old, was the first African-American governor of any state, serving as Virginia's governor from 1990 to 1994.

The Post reports that Black, who is also African-American, struggled with filing a report that could hurt Wilder's legacy and bring negative attention to herself.

“I had to choose being a woman over being black,” she told the Post.

The alleged incident happened when Wilder took Black out to dinner to celebrate her 20th birthday, gave her alcohol and invited her back to his Richmond condo, which is where he kissed her, according to The Washington Post.

“He reached over and put his hand on my right leg, and I just kind of looked at him, and as soon as I looked at him, he kissed me on my mouth. I immediately jerked away," Black told the Post about the encounter.

Wilder did not respond to requests for comment by The Washington Post.

Magee Goldstein Lasky & Sayers Attorneys sent the following statement on Black's behalf: 

"The family of Sydney Black would ask that their privacy be respected during this difficult time. They have faith in the Title IX investigative process and are confident that it will affirm Sydney's reports to the investigators. Sydney and her family have no further comment at this time and would ask that others also respect the investigative process. 

That family would also like to thank the professionals that have supported Sydney since her brave decision to come forward and report this conduct." 

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