Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

August 21, 2013

Sexual harassment complaints shake capitol

FRANKFORT — The General Assembly and state capitol were rocked Wednesday by a news story alleging sexual harassment of two legislative employees by Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis.

While lawmakers debated new legislative redistricting plans, WFPL Radio, the Louisville public radio station, published a story online that two female Legislative Research Commission employees had filed separate ethics complaints against Arnold with the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Then after a vote in the House on the redistricting plan, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, rose and spoke of the WFPL story and the complaints by two employees, recalling for the nearly silent chamber a previous scandal involving members of the General Assembly in the 1990s.

Riner commended the women for coming forward with their allegations and said at least one more complaint is likely to be filed, although he didn’t identify who might file it.

He said the General Assembly must “not tolerate this kind of abuse” and said he planned to offer a resolution condemning the behavior of Arnold — who he never named during his speech.

Riner didn’t identify by name the two women who had filed the complaints either. But by the time he spoke, nearly everyone in the House chamber had heard of or read the WFPL story online.

WFPL reported that the two women were long-time employees of the LRC and had filed separate complaints alleging harassment by Arnold over several years, including improper touching and making lewd and vulgar comments. (The WFPL published story named the two women — with their permission — according to the story. CNHI policy is not to name victims of sexual abuse.)

State law makes complaints to the Legislative Ethics Commission confidential unless released either by the complainant or the accused.

Arnold, 68, represents Union County and parts of Daviess and Henderson counties in western Kentucky. He is a retired chiropractor, farmer and businessman who has suffered some health problems recently.

Arnold remained on the House floor during Riner’s speech, but avoided most reporters waiting for him outside the chamber’s main entrance by exiting through a side door and down a back stairwell.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said he had “heard some rumors but I was never advised directly. I know (LRC) Director (Bobby) Sherman at one point had contacted us. We direct him to follow his protocol and protect the employees.”

He said neither he nor the House has the power to discipline a legislator, saying that power rests with the Ethics Commission.

Later Stumbo issued the following statement:

“The House of Representatives has zero tolerance for harassment of any nature,” he said in the statement. “Procedures exist for promptly addressing such allegations in order to protect the rights of all involved individuals. All staff concerns were relayed to the executive director of LRC. These procedures are confidential and operate independently of members or Leadership.”

One of the women named in the WFPL story works in the office of Majority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook.

“When I was notified of this incident I met with LRC Executive Director Bobby Sherman to inform him of these allegations to ensure the protection of LRC employees,” Adkins said Wednesday afternoon. “I must respect the process of the Legislative Ethics Commission as an independent body that treats these matters confidentially.”

RONNIE ELLIS writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0425M&Mcontinues.jpeg Downtown lunch with the arts continues at noon today

    Born with a love of traditional country music that could only belong to a truck-driver’s daughter, and growing with dreams of living lessons through Loretta Lynn songs, Canadian-born singer Crystal Shawanda has more recently added the inspirations of ladies including Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton, Tina Turner and the mighty Janis Joplin to her shows — including her open-air appearance on Judd Plaza downtown starting at noon today.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs: 4/25/14

    The city’s annual Arbor Day tree seedling giveaway will take place from noon to 6 p.m. today, or until all seedlings are gone, whichever comes first, at Central Park.

    April 24, 2014

  • Grimes goes on attack over McConnell jobs comment

    Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate Alison Lundergan Grimes is castigating incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell for telling a Beattyville newspaper editor that it’s not his job to bring jobs to Lee County.

    April 24, 2014

  • City to seek proposals for floating restaurant

    The Ashland Board of City Commissioners on Thursday voted to advertise for proposals to locate a floating restaurant on the city’s riverfront.

    April 24, 2014

  • Luallen says no to 2015 governor’s race

    After months of deliberation, former state Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen announced Thursday she will sit out the 2015 race for governor.

    April 24, 2014

  • BREAKING: APD probes gun report near Blazer campus

    April 24, 2014

  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
     

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone