State Rep. Tom Riner is calling for the resignation of his House colleague John A. Arnold Jr., who is facing sexual harassment allegations from three separate Statehouse employees.
Riner told WFPL on Monday that Arnold’s resignation would spare the three accusers from the process that follows the complaints they’ve recently filed in the state Legislative Ethics Commission.
“I think that that’s one way to limit, to minimize the damage, rather than to prolong this into an extended affair where women have to go get their witnesses and go through a lot more stress on those people who’ve already been victimized once,” said Riner, a Louisville Democrat.
Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner—employees of the state Legislative Research Commission—filed on Aug. 16 ethics complaints against Arnold. They allege that on numerous occasions Arnold inappropriate touched them and made lewd and vulgar comments. LRC staff member Gloria Morgan filed a similar complaint several days later.
Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, did not respond to telephone messages left on Monday. Last week, he told WFPL that he’d “been advised not to comment.”
Arnold, who turned 69 last week, won re-election last year by a mere five votes over Republican Tim Kline.
He’s served in the state House since 1995.
“Any legislator that has been accused by three different women this type of sexual harassment, yes, the thing that would help the most—both that representative and his family—would be for friends and family members to give him a call and let him know that resignation is in order,” Riner said.
Riner said the details of the allegations that would be made public through the ethics complaint process would further erode the public’s confidence in the legislature.
He said he’s mulling proposing legislation that could address issues of sexual harassment in the state legislature.
“This will only take care of one issue,” Riner said of a possible Arnold resignation.