Mark Halperin accusations: Former ABC employees insist the network knew about allegation

Several former ABC employees told Fox News Mark Halperin's alleged sexual misconduct and behavior toward women was widely known within the liberal organization and tolerated by management because of his access to the Clintons and Al Gore.

Former ABC correspondent Clarissa Ward tweeted Halperin's behavior "was an open secret" when she was with the network.

According to one source, Halperin was reported multiple times to ABC News management, including to then-ABC News President David Westin who is now an on-air host for Bloomberg News.

Westin denied our source's claim.

David Westin, President, ABC News, and journalisrs Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and George Stepanopoulos (L-R) address reporters during a question and answer session as part of ABC 2004 Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, California July 12, 2004.

David Westin, then president of ABC News; late journalist Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel and George Stephanopoulos during a 2004 event in Los Angeles.  (Reuters)

"During my time at ABC News, we vigorously pursued any allegation of sexual harassment involving our employees, investigating it promptly and taking action whenever warranted. No complaint, formal or informal, concerning his actions ever came to me," he told Fox News. 

Westin's current employer, Bloomberg, had no comment when reached by Fox News.

Halperin, who was most recently an NBC and MSNBC analyst, left both networks on Thursday after five women accused him of sexual harassment in a CNN report published Wednesday.

"Mark left ABC News over a decade ago, and no complaints were filed during his tenure," Walt Disney Company-owned ABC News said in a statement provided to CNN.

Complaints from five women, which were corroborated by others who did not personally experience the harassment, include allegations of Halperin grabbing a woman's breasts and pressing his clothed, erect penis against three of his co-workers.

Executive producers (from L to R) Mark Halperin, John Heilmann and Mark McKinnon of the Showtime program "The Circus" speak at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2016.

Halperin, who was most recently an NBC and MSNBC analyst, left both networks on Oct. 26 after five women accused him of sexual harassment in a CNN report.  (Reuters)

The "Morning Joe" regular admitted to CNN Wednesday night that his conduct was inappropriate.

"During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me," Halperin told CNN. "I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I'm going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation."

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.