Allegations of inappropriate behavior by Garrison Keillor were more substantial than indicated in November when Minnesota Public Radio severed ties with him, according to a letter the network sent its members on Tuesday.
The letter from the network’s president, Jon McTaggart, said that MPR received a 12-page correspondence on Oct. 22 from the lawyer for a woman who had worked with Mr. Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion” that described “dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents directed at her client over a period of years.”
The woman’s lawyer detailed “many of the alleged incidents, including excerpts from emails and written messages, requests for sexual contact and explicit descriptions of sexual communications and touching,” according to Mr. McTaggart. The woman has not publicly identified herself.
It was her allegations that prompted the network to open an independent investigation. “We told Garrison that we were doing so,” Mr. McTaggart said.
Mr. Keillor, 75, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
When the network dropped Mr. Keillor, it did not offer details beyond saying that there had been allegations of “inappropriate behavior.”
At the time, Mr. Keillor indicated that the allegations related to an incident in which he said he had put his hand on a colleague’s bare back. He said he had offered her an apology later, which he said she accepted.
But in his letter on Tuesday, Mr. McTaggart wrote, “In the allegations she provided to MPR, she did not allege that Garrison touched her back, but did claim that he engaged in other unwanted sexual touching.”
The network said that before it decided to sever ties with Mr. Keillor, he was informed of the claims and responded to them with his lawyer present.
It also said that its lawyers tried multiple times to access Mr. Keillor’s computer, emails and text messages to aid in the investigation, but were unable to do so.
“To date, all requests to review Garrison’s emails and texts related to this matter have been refused by Garrison or his attorneys,” Mr. McTaggart said.
MPR received two formal complaints alleging bad behavior by Mr. Keillor’s in the workplace, Mr. McTaggart said. One was from the unnamed woman who said the behavior was directed at her, and the other was from someone who claimed to know about some of the alleged behavior, the letter states.
MPR’s letter sought to address concerns and questions from listeners, some of whom thought the initial decision was hasty, and MPR did praise Mr. Keillor for his many accomplishments, possibly to avoid another backlash.
One question asked if MPR had “unfairly tarnished” Mr. Keillor’s reputation; another asked why MPR was “so ungrateful to Garrison for his many years of service.”
Mr. McTaggart responded by saying: “Garrison is one of the most talented, creative, generous and hard-working people I’ve ever met. We are deeply grateful for all that he has done for MPR, for Minnesota and for our country.”
“We have not released the letter because of our commitment to protecting the privacy of those involved, including Garrison,” he said.
Angie Andresen, an MPR spokeswoman, said that about 890 station memberships had been canceled in the wake of the initial decision but that approximately 250 people had increased their donations because of it. The network has about 133,000 members, she said.
In a statement that Mr. Keillor provided to The New York Times in November, he said: “I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard. Most stories are.”
Over four decades, Mr. Keillor had created a financial juggernaut for the radio network with “A Prairie Home Companion,” his weekly broadcast of songs, skits and tales of his fictional hometown Lake Wobegon — along with related books, recordings and other products.
In November, MPR announced it would no longer distribute and broadcast Mr. Keillor’s remaining programs, “The Writer’s Almanac” and “The Best of a Prairie Home Companion Hosted by Garrison Keillor.”