2 female Arizona lawmakers allege sexual harassment; House launches investigation

More woman come forward in sexual harassment claims against Don Shooter.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona House is investigating allegations of sexual harassment at the Legislature, including allegations from a Scottsdale lawmaker that another member of the chamber told her he wanted to have a romantic relationship with her.

Matthew Specht, a spokesman for the House Republican caucus, says the investigations announced Wednesday will examine harassment allegations made by Reps. Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale and Kelly Townsend of Mesa.

RELATED: Arizona lawmaker says she was sexually harassed at Capitol

The response to sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo social-media movement has spread to statehouses across the country.

Two weeks after Ugenti-Rita first made the allegations last month, the Arizona House issued a written harassment policy.


Ugenti-Rita named Rep. Don Shooter this week as someone who had sexually harassed her. Initially, Shooter released an apology, but he later recanted it, instead accusing Ugenti-Rita of lying about their interaction, as well as improper sexual conduct within the Legislature.

Wednesday morning, Townsend posted on Facebook saying she'd experienced sexual harassment and seen harassment of Ugenti-Rita.

"I personally have witnessed sexist comments and maltreatment of Ms. Ugenti-Rita (not by Mr. Shooter) in the past," the statement by Townsend read, "and have also been on the receiving end of both unwanted sexual advances by more than one person as well as intimidating behavior and retaliation by another in a position of power in years past."

Under the new policy, a House member experiencing harassment can report it to the chamber's attorney or the chiefs of staff from either party.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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