Ashland businessman says he's innocent of sexual harassment

Former Ashland businessman Michael Ruppert says he is innocent of sexually harassing a former employee and may appeal a state labor board ruling that he pay her $127,713.

Ruppert said the case was based on a deliberate attempt to discredit his work, a movie coming out about his views and his former newsletter, From The Wilderness.

"I will always maintain my complete innocence in this matter," Ruppert said. He declined to offer specifics, saying he didn't want to taint a potential appeal.

Ruppert said it was his intention to appeal this ruling to a higher court. However, he does not have the estimated $25,000 necessary to pursue such an appeal, he added.

State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian Ruppert this month ordered Ruppert to pay $125,000 in damages and $2,713 in lost wages to former employee Lindsay Gerken, 25. She claimed Rupert fired her from work at his company, From the Wilderness Inc., after she refused his sexual advances.

Officials had said they believed Ruppert was out of the country, but he called the Mail Tribune this morning after a story about the state order appeared at He said he had been living in Culver City, Calif., for the last two years.

"Collapse," a movie about his theories about a coming end time for fossil fuels, was premiered this month at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival.

— Sanne Specht

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