Thursday, September 2, 2004

Ex-husband: Allen persisted


Prosecutor left several phone
messages for Collins, he says

By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

Eric John LeCount
Eric LeCount, former husband of Rebecca Collins, delivered a statement to the media concerning her sexual harassment lawsuit against Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen.
(Gary Landers/The Enquirer)
Full Mike Allen coverage
MOUNT AUBURN - Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen repeatedly called the home of the employee who accuses him of sexual harassment and once threatened her job if she didn't return a phone call, the woman's ex-husband said Wednesday.

Eric John LeCount, an ironworker who lives in Northern Kentucky, said Allen called his home and left messages demanding that Rebecca Collins "give him five minutes of her time."

LeCount called on Allen to publicly apologize to him and his 5-year-old daughter, saying they are victims in the growing scandal.

LeCount, 34, was married to Collins from November 2003 through July. Allen last week said he and Collins had a consensual 31/2-year affair that ended in August 2003. Collins, 33, filed a federal lawsuit last week accusing Allen, 48, of using his position to coerce her into a sexual relationship. Collins is an assistant prosecutor and former employee of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

LeCount's comments came during a brief news conference at his lawyer's office and one day after Allen's wife, Hamilton County Municipal Judge Lisa Allen, discussed the affair and the effect the disclosures have had on her family.

"Yesterday, Mr. Allen's wife, Judge Lisa Allen, said that she and her two teenage children are the only real victims in this mess," LeCount said. "I do not doubt Judge Allen's sincerity, but I must set the record straight because both my daughter and I have also suffered because of Mr. Allen's conduct."

While saying he doesn't speak for his former wife, LeCount said he heard the phone messages that Allen left for Collins. LeCount did not give the dates or times of the phone calls but said it was during the course of their relationship.

"Several times, Mr. Allen left messages demanding that Rebecca call him and give him five minutes of her time. I recall one message where Mr. Allen said something like if Rebecca did not return his calls, she had better find another place to work."

LeCount did not take questions after making his statement.

Allen's lawyer, Michael Hawkins, questioned why LeCount would decide to come forward now, long after he claims Allen made the phone calls. Hawkins said if someone were threatening her job, it would have made sense for LeCount to come forward sooner.

"Let's face it, it's ridiculous," Hawkins said. "It would be common sense that if you are overhearing these conversations that you are not going to sit there and do nothing."

LeCount's lawyer, Christian Jenkins, said his client issued the statement, in part, to quell requests for interviews.

LeCount isn't sure how he will proceed or if he will take legal action, Jenkins said.

"That is so speculative. ... Of course, anything is possible," Jenkins said. "He simply wanted to speak out about something that he heard yesterday that disturbed him greatly."

Jenkins said he doubted LeCount would financially benefit from his ex-wife's lawsuit.

LeCount "certainly ... will be a witness if not more" in the lawsuit, Jenkins said.

When asked if LeCount blames Allen for breaking up his marriage, Jenkins responded:

"At this point, Mr. LeCount is not addressing those issues. Certainly, he feels that Mr. Allen's conduct affected his marriage.

"How and in what way - and what fingers will be pointed - will be sorted out in the legal process," Jenkins said. "Not in the press by Mr. LeCount."

Enquirer reporter Dan Horn contributed to this article. E mail jedwards@enquirer.com.



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