Whitehorse boss testifies at sexual harassment hearing

Mark Hureau has testified before a Yukon Human Rights panel that his emails and text messages to the woman were misconstrued.

Says emails and texts to 18-year-old female employee were misconstrued

A Whitehorse man accused of sexually harassing an 18-year-old female employee says he's innocent of the charges.

Mark Hureau testified before a Yukon Human Rights panel that his emails and text messages to Devon Hanson were misconstrued.

Hanson says while she was working part-time at the Intersport sports store in Whitehorse, Hureau sent her unwanted text messages and emails that got "weird and personal." She said she quit her job because she was "creeped out."

Hureau said Hanson was his favourite employee and was also a star player on the basketball team he coached.

He testified he thought they were good friends in 2010 when he confronted her about a disturbing rumour that she was involved in a Grade 12 competition to "bed the most boys." Hureau said the conversation was awkward for him, but she calmly accepted his advice about spreading hurtful rumours.

Hureau described other awkward incidents where he says Hanson physically got too close for comfort.

At one point, he says he scolded her for showing too much underwear.

Other texts admitting a "ridiculous crush," Hureau says were meant as "a joke."

For her part, Hanson texted a lot. NorthwesTel records show 30,000 messages sent over a three-month period.

Hureau said none of the messages addressed to him even hinted he was out of line until one final text told him, "You crossed the line big time."

Hureau told the panel, "To this day I don't know what she meant by that."

More witnesses are scheduled to testify.