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Investigative report released on sexual harassment at State House

Report released on Capitol sexual harassment
Posted at 3:12 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 00:25:52-05

Arizona Rep. Don Shooter will be removed from all committee assignments following the release of a report detailing sexual harassment allegations at the Arizona House of Representatives. 

House Speaker J.D Mesnard released the report Tuesday, which details sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Don Shooter and Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

The report concluded that there is credible evidence that Rep. Shooter violated the House of Representative's policy against sexual harassment. The report also stated there wasn't any credible evidence to support that Rep. Ugenti-Rita violated the policy. 

Mesnard reacted to the report by outlining several remedial actions:

  •  Speaker Mesnard is permanently removing Representative Shooter from all committee assignments effective immediately.
  •  Speaker Mesnard will furthermore introduce a resolution on the House Floor censuring Representative Shooter for his behavior.
  •  Speaker Mesnard will propose augmenting the House rules, which carry the force of law, to require a formal anti-harassment policy by which all Members must abide.
  • Speaker Mesnard, in his capacity as Speaker, will develop a code of conduct that will apply to all House staff.

To read the full report by the law firm Sherman & Howard, click here.

For the first time since the 80-page report was released, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard spoke about the Shooter scandal. 

"I could reprimand him," said Mesnard. "But I didn't feel that was enough."

So instead, Mesnard will introduce a measure to censure Shooter on Thursday. It's more than a reprimand but doesn't go as far as expelling Shooter. 

"This is, as everyone knows, a conversation that has been happening across the country and as speaker, I'm tasked with the credibility of this institution," said Mesnard.

The report largely involves fellow Representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita with a number of allegations, many of which the investigators believed did in fact happen. 

One of those was an incident where Ugenti-Rita left to breastfeed her infant, and when she was leaving, she claims Shooter said, "That's one lucky baby. I wish I was that baby."

Shooter told investigators he didn't remember saying that but also didn't deny it. 

The investigators concluded that most likely happened.