Fri September 13, 2013
State Rep. John Arnold Resigns, Denies Sexual Harassment Allegations in Letter
State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr. resigned Friday amid allegations that he'd sexually harassed three Statehouse employees.
Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, turned in his resignation letter to Gov. Steve Beshear.
"I respect his decision to step aside so that our legislators can focus instead on the business of the state," Beshear said in a statement confirming the receipt of Arnold's letter.
Beshear said he'll begin reviewing options for a special session so that people in Arnold's seventh district will have representation during the 2012 legislative session.
As WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting first reported in August, two employees of the Legislative Research Commission alleged in ethics complaints that Arnold touched them and made inappropriate comments. Days later, a third accuser filed an ethics complaint.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo appointed a legislative panel to investigate the allegations. That process could have led to Arnold's expulsion or censure.
Updated 4:09: In a statement, Stumbo said: “The resignation of Rep. John Arnold does not change the fact that the House has appointed a special committee of investigation, and the only thing that will change is that the members will not have to make a recommendation of potential disciplinary action. We look forward to that committee beginning its work and providing feedback to the House.”
(Here's complete coverage of the Arnold allegations from WFPL and Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.)
The allegations have brought scrutiny of how the LRC's handling of the allegations.
Arnold, 69, is a retired chiropractor. He's served in the state House since 1995.
Arnold could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.
We'll update this story when more information becomes available.
Update: Arnold's Resignation Letter
In his resignation letter, Arnold said he doesn't believe that he's guilty of sexual harassment.
He adds that he's "been destroyed politically."
"(E)ven if I mount a vigorous defense to the administrative proceedings in Frankfort, and regardless of the outcome, I believe I would be an ineffective voice for my constituents in future legislative sessions," Arnold wrote in the letter, dated Friday and addressed to Beshear.
He added that he's been in poor health and was unable to participate in the last couple of weeks of the 2012 session because of "chronic illness."
Here's the full letter: