Michigan Radio senior management declines interview request to discuss Lessenberry’s resignation

May 25, 2018
Originally published on May 25, 2018 9:11 am

Michigan Radio’s longtime senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry announced Tuesday he's stepping down.

His resignation comes after a May 17 story in Deadline Detroit titled “Jack Lessenberry’s Long History of Questionable Behavior with Women.”

The allegations in the article date back decades. They come from women who worked with Lessenberry, as well as students he taught at Wayne State University. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reported that one accusation includes inappropriate physical contact. The rest cite inappropriate remarks.

Throughout all of this, Lessenberry has maintained he did nothing wrong. In a statement to Michigan Radio, he said: “I am saddened by the events of the last several days and admit to absolutely no wrongdoing whatsoever.”

As with any other significant story in the state, Stateside is covering the news of Lessenberry’s resignation. This morning, executive producer Joe Linstroth emailed a written request to Michigan Radio’s communications director to request an interview with someone from senior management for today’s show.

That request was declined. This leaves us with several unanswered questions for station management.

Among them:

Why did Michigan Radio wait until yesterday to part ways with Jack Lessenberry, when the article came out on May 17?

The article in Deadline Detroit makes clear that rumors about Lessenberry’s behavior were known among Wayne State students for years.

How long has management known there might be concerns about his behavior and what action, if any, was taken? 

After declining our request for an interview, we received this emailed statement from senior management:

“Like many of you, we recently learned of allegations of inappropriate behavior against Jack in his role as a Wayne State University professor. As a result of those allegations, Wayne State has begun an independent investigation into the accusations. Although Jack has denied any wrongdoing, he offered his resignation yesterday to “avoid distracting listeners from the fine work of Michigan Radio.”

We appreciate the trust that listeners and donors place in Michigan Radio and personal and organizational integrity is an important part of that trust. While we are not aware of any complaints against Jack from our staff, Michigan Radio is committed to a workplace free of offensive or demeaning behavior and we take all reports of misconduct seriously.

We wish Jack the best in his future endeavors and thank him for his past service to the station.”

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