State Lawmakers Discuss Two Sexual Harassment Accusations

Wednesday, January 11th 2017, 7:04 pm

Wednesday, state lawmakers met to discuss sexual harassment allegations against two representatives.

The committee promised bipartisan cooperation and transparency, but didn't deliver on either. Six of the nine members met most of the day behind closed doors with a long list of rules telling them they can't talk about what happens.

The committee decided to let News 9 in while they discussed the rules they'd follow, but kicked the News 9 crew out once they started talking about the accusations.

Representative Dan Kirby is accused of sexually harassing a staffer. That staffer was later given a $44,000 taxpayer funded settlement.

1/3/17 Related Story: Rep. Kirby Refuses To Answer Questions About Sexual Harassment Settlement

Representative Will Fourkiller is accused of harassing a house page. Pages are high school students who assist representatives.

1/10/17 Related Story: State Lawmaker Under Investigation After Sexual Harassment Allegation

Representative David Perryman objected to the rules, saying they're essentially a gag order.

"These are taxpayers dollars.” Perryman said, “And I would like to have transparency but instead what we've got is a vehicle that by its very nature is being set up to actually close and provide information from being provided to the public"

Representative Terry O'Donnell (R) District 23 responded, some information can’t be released. "Some of the witnesses and some of the people involved in this may or may not be minors. We're going to be discussing this. We can allow that type of information to be disseminated."

Perryman walked out rather than sign a confidentiality agreement. Two other democrats couldn't make the meeting, so it was run entirely by republicans.

"This is just yet another political football that Representative Perryman and our loyal opposition, the Democrats, they just want to make a political issue out of this rather than dealing with the issues and moving forward,” O’Donnell said.

Perryman replied, "It's not about Republicans and Democrats it's about transparency." 

Perryman said he is not stepping down from the committee, but insists he won't agree to keep quiet about the committee’s findings.


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