WASHINGTON (AP) _ An executive of the nonprofit Humane Society has been accused by colleagues of embezzling thousands of dollars and of sexually harassing female employees, according to a published report.

A report in the Oct. 2 edition of U.S. News & World Report said the charges against David Wills were contained in discrimination complaints filed here with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The magazine said two women who worked for Wills made the harassment charges. They joined with a third female aide to accuse him of stealing association money and of fabricating expense accounts, the report said.

Wills, 43, had been in charge of the animal protection organization's cruelty investigations and international operations. He was placed on administrative leave as soon as the allegations surfaced in early August, said Patricia Forkan, the society's executive vice president.

U.S. News said Wills ``strongly denies the charges.''

The Associated Press could not locate Wills for comment Tuesday; a telephone number could not be obtained.

Forkan said the charges were the first of their kind in the history of the society, which was founded in 1954. Outside investigators have been hired to look into the matter, she said, but she declined further comment Tuesday.

``We don't want to appear to be prejudging the outcome or appear to be influencing the investigation,'' Forkan said. ``We certainly are taking it seriously and taking, I think, top-notch steps to look into it.''

Michael Widomski, an EEOC spokesman, also declined comment, citing confidentiality rules.

The U.S. News report on Wills appeared as part of an investigative project on how some nonprofit organizations abuse their tax-exempt status.