Fresno · Politics

Ex-Harris staffer claimed Fresno City Council candidate Maxwell sexually harassed him

A Fresno city council candidate has made harassment claims against a former political staffer, but accusations are now going both ways.

In a Wednesday story from The Fresno Bee on Wednesday, Fresno City Council candidate Tyler Maxwell alleged that Matt Rogers – a former staffer for U. S. Senator Kamala Harris’ Fresno office and a former member of the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee – had engaged in harrassment.

The claims levied from Maxwell ranged from following around the City Council candidate at Fresno’s Whole Foods to allegedly texting Maxwell’s girlfriend to inform her that Maxwell was cheating on her.

Through his attorney, Brian Whelan, Rogers not only denied the allegations but leveled some allegations of his own.

Rogers claims that Maxwell sexually harassed him in Harris’ office.

In a statement issued to both The Bee and The Sun, Whelan said, “Tyler Maxwell sexually harassed Matt Rogers during Mr. Rogers’ employment with U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ office. In the office, Mr. Maxwell disrobed in front of Mr. Rogers and made an unwanted sexual advance. Mr. Rogers rejected the advance.”

The Bee omitted Rogers’ sexual harassment allegation in its story.

After the alleged sexual harassment, Rogers told multiple people about what happened, including Martín Chavez, an acquaintance of his who he talked to in the fall of 2017.

Rogers and Chavez know each other through working in politics and attending various political events.

“He said he was really bothered because Tyler Maxwell had asked to change clothes in his office and then opened the door and was in his underwear and began to walk around,” Chavez said.

Rogers felt that he was being harassed by Maxwell, Chavez said.

The flurry of accusations initiated when Rogers resigned from Fresno’s Democratic Central Committee in protest over the committee’s endorsement of Maxwell.

“I do not support him because I believe he is fundamentally dishonest,” Rogers said in December.

Whelan said in the statement that Maxwell’s allegations are false and are in retribution for Rogers endorsing Maxwell’s opponent Nathan Alonzo.

An explanation of The Bee’s reporting lends some credence to the theory, noting that Maxwell decided to go public with his claims after Rogers’ resignation was published in The Sun.

“Mr. Rogers will be pursuing legal action against Mr. Maxwell for slander and libel,” Whelan said in the statement. 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.