PHOENIX - Rep. Don Shooter has been suspended from his duties as House Appropriations chairman after more allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.
Mi-Ai Parrish, publisher of the Arizona Republic, wrote a column Friday morning accusing Shooter of using sexually and racially offensive language with her during a meeting when he was a state senator.
Parrish said she was in a meeting with Shooter and the Republic's lawyer when Shooter mentioned he had done everything on his "bucket list" except one.
"What was that one thing on your bucket list, sSenator?" Parrish said she asked Shooter, "and he replied, those Asian twins in Mexico."
Parrish is Korean-American. She said her attorney quickly ended the meeting.
Parrish is the latest woman to accuse Shooter of sexually harassing them. The accusers range from lobbyists to other elected officials at the State Capitol.
Following the Harvey Weinstein scandal that has rocked Hollywood, Republican State Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale shared her "#MeToo" story with Team 12's Brahm Resnik.
She said she was sexually harassed after her election seven years ago. Earlier this week, she named Rep. Shooter.
I’ve been contacted by several people concerning an individual regarding my sexual harassment claim and confirm Don Shooter is one of them.— Michelle Ugenti-Rita (@MichelleUgenti) November 8, 2017
Shooter accused Ugenti of retaliating against him for unrelated reasons and accused Ugenti of ethical misconduct of her own.
The Arizona House is investigating the allegations and, in a new statement through an attorney, Shooter said he will fully cooperate.
House Speaker J.D. Mesnard released a statement regarding his decision to suspend Shooter from his duties:
“I have suspended Representative Shooter’s responsibilities as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee pending the results of the investigation into the allegations against him. He will not be taking any budgetary meetings, chairing hearings, or engaging in any budget discussion or any duties related to Appropriations until the investigation has concluded. Representative Shooter is entitled to – and will receive – a fair and thorough investigation into his behavior before the House determines what action is needed, but I don’t believe he can properly fulfill his obligations as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee until that investigation has concluded. Additionally, due to the number and nature of the allegations against him, the House’s bipartisan sexual harassment investigative team has decided to employ the use of outside investigators moving forward. I support their decision. The investigative team will reconvene on Monday to determine what next steps are appropriate in that regard and move as quickly as possible to reach a conclusion.”
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