Humane Society CEO accused of sexual harassment

The Humane Society of the United States is investigating claims CEO Wayne Pacelle sexually harassed female employees.

According to a release from the Chair of the Humane Society of the United States Board of Directors, a special committee has been put together to address the allegations against Pacelle.

At this time, no information is being shared about the investigation, its findings, or the Humane Society's plans to move forward after this scandal.

"We believe it is important to deal in substance and not rumors, and our process is designed to ensure confidentiality and fair consideration of these issues," Eric Bernthal said in his statement.

The Washington Post reported that there are currently three existing complaints of sexual harassment against Pacelle.

The oldest of the three complaints dates back to 2005 when an intern alleged that the executive asked her to meet him outside of work at a coffee shop, a Humane Society memo obtained by the newspaper revealed.

According to the alleged victim's account, Pacelle pulled her close to him, began slow dancing with her and gave her a non-consensual kiss.

A second woman said she often travelled with Pacelle on business and that donors regularly mentioned his desire to be intimate with her, suggesting that dating him would be a career boost for her.

She claimed that on a 2006 work trip Pacelle asked her to stop by his hotel room after an event.

When she arrived, he allegedly asked her if he could masturbate in front of her, requested that she strip naked and offered to perform oral sex on her, two people briefed on the incident and the memo told the Washington Post.

The woman refused and was allegedly threatened by Pacelle, who told her that if she told anyone, she would destroy the Humane Society and lose her job.

The third woman, who joined the company in 2012, said Pacelle visited her in her office late one night and at one point began salsa dancing alone and asked her to join him, the outlet reported.

Several female leaders within the organization said their warnings to others about the CEO's conduct were ignored, sources said. 

RELATED: Here's a full list of high-profile men who have been accused of harassment and misconduct:

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High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct
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High-profile men accused of sexual harassment, assault and misconduct

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

(REUTERS/Gus Ruelas)

Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

(Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Director Woody Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. She says she experienced inappropriate behavior by her adoptive father on several occasions.

(REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.

(TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images)

Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

 (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Mark Schwahn, the former "One Tree Hill" showrunner, was accused of sexual harassment by a large number of the show's cast and crew.

(Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)

Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

(REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)

Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

(Photo by Dirck Halstead/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Film Independent)

Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Veteran journalist Mark Halperin has been accused of sexually harassing women while he worked at ABC News.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Former Fox Host Eric Bolling was accused of sending unsolicited lewd text messages to female colleagues.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

Chef John Besh stepped down from the company he founded after female employees reported facing sexual harassment there. 

(Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

(Photo by Eugene Gologursky/WireImage)

Singer Kesha accused Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke of drugging and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions.

(Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)

Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

(REUTERS/Michael Clevenger/POOL)

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar has been accused of sexual abuse by dozens of his former patients and athletes.

(JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

(Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

(REUTERS/Adrees Latif)

Chris Savino (right), creator of  'The Loud House' was suspended by Nickelodeon after being accused of making unwanted advances toward multiple women.

(Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SCAD)

Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/Getty Images,)

Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

(REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)

Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

(REUTERS/Stephane Mahe)

Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

(REUTER/Dylan Martinez

Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, (D) Nevada, was accused of making repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex to a woman that once worked on his campaign.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

(Photo by Jennifer Lourie/Getty Images)

Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Actor Tom Sizemore was reportedly told to leave a film set in 2003 after an 11-year-old actress told her mother that he had touched her genitals.

(REUTERS/Phil McCarten)

Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

(Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)

Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

(REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann)

A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

(Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

(Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)

Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

(REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

(Photo by Chris Weeks/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

(Photo by Hal Horowitz/WireImage for Haute Magazine)

Producer Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein's brother, has also been accused of sexual harassment. 

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company)

Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

(Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns)

Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

(Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended by the New York Times after several women accused him of acting inappropriately when they were young journalists.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Veteran radio host Garrison Keillor was fired by Minnesota Public Radio following claim of improper behavior.

(Photo by Al Pereira/WireImage)

CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

(Photo via Twitter)

Producer Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies following sexual assault and harassment accusations from two women.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

(REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Harold Ford, Jr.

(Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Chef Mario Batali has been accused by multiple women of "inappropriate touching in a pattern of behavior that spans at least two decades."

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

(Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)

Ross Levinsohn, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher, has reportedly been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and would rate the "hotness" of his female colleagues, according to a report by NPR.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A woman accused magician David Copperfield of drugging, sexually assaulting her when she was teen model in the 80s, according to The Wrap.

(REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

James Franco was accused by several women of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was also criticized for wearing a "Time's Up" pin to the Golden Globes hours before the accusations against him surfaced.

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Barry Lubin, also known as Grandma the clown, resigned from Big Apple Circus after admitting to pressuring a 16-year-old girl into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired amid troubling off-field allegations. His former administrative assistant says Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her. 

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

President Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by pro-Trump singer Joy Villa. She claims he hit her on the buttocks during an event at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

(Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)

Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of peple. The Wall Street Journal the casino mogul regularly pressured employees to perform sex acts.

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Music exec and 'The Four' judge Charlie Walk was accused of sexual harassment by a former employee. Life Lab founder Tristan Coopersmith penned an open letter about Walk in January claiming he sent her lewd comment and cornered her in the bedroom he shared with his wife.

(Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images for Vh1 Save The Music)

Several women filed sexual harassment complaints against Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, according to the Washington Post.

(Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Actor Scott Baio, was accused of molesting is former 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert when she was a minor.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Paris Dennard, GOP commentator

(Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Per the memo, the investigation into Pacelle's workplace conduct reportedly found that the Humane Society had offered settlements to three additional employees who claim they were either demoted or dismissed after reporting him.

One woman said she received a settlement after complaining about Pacelle's alleged girlfriend joining her team without being qualified. She claimed she was shut out of work opportunities, according to the memo

A major concern among those who spoke with the Washington Post was that the money being used to settle with those affected by Pacelle's alleged behavior was being misdirected from protecting wildlife.

Investigators at the law firm Morgan Lewis reportedly interviewed 33 people, including Pacelle.

According to the Washington Post, they found a common perception among Humane Society employees that certain women at the nonprofit agency owed their success to romantic relationships with Pacelle.

The aforementioned memo stated that a number of high-ranking female employees warned Pacelle that sexual relationships with subordinates, donors and volunteers could be damaging to the organization.

Pacelle did not directly change his behavior, according to the memo obtained by the publication, but claimed he'd changed his ways.

Speaking with the Washington Post, Pacelle denied all three complaints against him.

"This is a coordinated attempt to attack me and the organization," he alleged.

"And I absolutely deny any suggestion that I did anything untoward."

Although he denied sexually harassing or assaulting anyone, he did tell the paper he was "familiar" with the allegations and the women who made them.

"The one complaint about the salsa dancing, I simply had a conversation with a person and it turned into that," he said.

"The person with the hotel - I'm familiar with that. I worked with the person eight years after that allegation. The person never said a thing to me about any harassment, and I certainly never invited her to a hotel room."

Pacelle called claims he'd had consensual sex with both Human Society donors and volunteers "just ad hominem attacks."

The Human Society CEO was adamant that he was never in a relationship with a subordinate either.

He also said he hadn't received any warnings from anyone at the company about his conduct.

"Absolutely not. I enjoy the support of senior women throughout the organization. No one has ever warned me of such a thing, ever," Pacelle told the Washington Post.

Some Humane Society employees defended Pacelle's character while speaking with the Washington Post.

A number of them described him as an adult engaging in consensual relationships with other adults.

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