The Rev. Henry A. Silva has resigned from the D.C. Commission of Human Rights, just two weeks after he was appointed.
In a letter to Mayor Marion Barry, Silva, 56, said he was quitting because of health reasons and because he did not have time to serve on the comission, which reviewed equal opportunity complaints in the District. Silva said yesterday he also decided to quit after discovering that commission members are unpaid.
The resignation also came after aides to Barry questioned Silva about allegations of sexual harassment stemming from his former job as director of the equal employment opportunity program for the National Labor Relations Board.
In an interview yesterday, Silva said his resignation had nothing to do with the questioning by Barry's staff or the accusations that he had sexually harassed women employes at the NLRB. He labeled the allegations "rumors" that are "completely untrue and unsubstantiated."
Silva, who is Washington coordinator and a member of the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was appointed by Barry to the 15-member commission Feb. 12. He resigned Feb. 26 before attending any commission meetings.
After the appointment, Barry's office was contacted by a woman who identified herself as a former coworker of Silva's at the NLRB. The caller, who city officials declined to identify, said Silva retired at the NLRB in the midst of a disciplinary hearing about allegations that he had sexually harassed women workers there.
"I don't know why this woman [the caller] is doing this," Silva said yesterday. "I bear her no malice. It's up to God to judge her, not me. I love the Lord and have to answer to him."
He said the sexual harassment accusations made against him at the NLRB were "very old, dating back from 1977 and 1978" and that "nothing ever surfaced to substantiate them."
Silva declined further comment. An attorney familiar with the accusations said Silva asked for a hearing on the charges when they first surfaced. After one day of testimony, Silva announced he was retiring and the case was closed without any decision, the attorney said.