Experts warn more sexual harassment allegations will surface

NBC host Matt Lauer was fired Wednesday after his name surfaced among reported sexual misconduct. Local experts believe the number of reports will grow.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As Matt Lauer, a face many of us have welcomed into our homes every morning on Today, becomes the latest in a sea of seemingly endless people accused of sexual harassment or worse, local experts warn that the surge of accusations is probably going to snowball.

"I'm actually excited when I see this because it means we are finally taking sexual violence with the attitude and seriousness it deserves," said Dr. Norman Spencer.

RELATED: 'Today' anchor Matt Lauer fired for 'inappropriate sexual behavior'

Spencer works with sexual trauma survivors at the Safe Alliance. He says when one survivor comes forward, it gives confidence to other survivors to do the same.

"It's going to make others who are maybe sitting in silence and they're worried about what's going to happen and they don't want to be that first person to come forward, they're gonna feel comfortable," Spencer said.

As more and more claims of inappropriate conduct surface, experts say the accused tend to have something in common.

"It is all about power and control," Spencer said. "That's why it's not a surprise that it's people in positions of power. Power many times leads individuals to want additional power over people."

That's certainly the majority of cases that Kenny Colbert hears about at The Employment Association.

"In 90 percent of the cases it is a power issue, it's someone up here harassing someone down here," Colbert said.

Colbert's organization handles human resources for about 950 companies in the Charlotte area. One of the services they provide is sexual harassment in the workplace training. That training has been in high demand over the last few weeks. Colbert does not believe it is a coincidence.

"We've had an uptick, actually just today, we've had two companies," Colbert told NBC Charlotte.

RELATED: House set to vote on mandatory sexual harassment training

Colbert said many local companies are calling with concerns about how what is happening on the national level will play out in our workplaces.

He believes it's only the beginning of a groundswell.

"I think the 'Me Too' movement is gonna free this up that people are going to be able to report within 24-48 hours rather than five years later," he explained. "I think this is just gonna grow and grow over the next couple months."

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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