John Arnold ethics case

Politics
7:00 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Legislative Research Commission Director: Sexual Harassment Allegations Taken Seriously

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

The director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission says sexual harassment claims are taken seriously by his agency, despite an employee's expressed disappointment of how her allegations against a state legislator were handled.

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Politics
10:27 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky Lawmaker to Propose Sexual Harassment Training After Allegations Against Colleague

Credit File photo

The allegations that a Kentucky state legislator sexually harassed and assaulted two statehouse staffers has led to an effort to impose required training onto lawmakers.

Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Democrat from Louisville, plans to introduce a measure in the House on Thursday that would include sexual harassment training in the mandatory ethics education that state legislators are required to undergo.

No such training is currently required, Marzian said.

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Politics
3:56 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky House Democratic Leaders Knew of Sexual Harassment Claims, Filing Says

A Democratic state lawmaker says some of his colleagues told him to keep quiet allegations of sexual harassment and assault against a fellow legislator to protect the party's majority in upcoming elections

After WFPL News reported the accusations against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, early Wednesday, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, took to the House floor to speak out against what he described as a culture of intimidation and sexism in the legislature.

In separate ethics complaints filed last week, two longtime Frankfort staffers, Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, outline a pattern of alleged harassment by Arnold dating back to 2010.

According to both women, they brought these issues to the attention of the Legislative Research Commission and top House Democratic leaders.

In a statement to ethics officials, Cooper alleges that on Feb. 14 Arnold walked up behind her and slapped her buttocks. She said she told House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and his chief of staff about the incident, but Arnold continued visiting her office and attempted to hug Cooper, the complaint said.

Costner's statement alleges that Arnold grabbed her underwear in March 2010, but that House Majority Whip Rep. John Will Stacy told her "(Arnold) was harmless."

Riner said a third woman is coming forward and that protecting staffers, who have little job security, matters more to him than who controls the state House.

"You cannot put this off until the next election," he said. "You cannot put this off until tomorrow. There are some things that are more important than which party gets in power. And one of those things is how we treat people that we have power over."

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Politics
10:56 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Kentucky Statehouse Staffers Accuse Rep. John Arnold of Sexual Harassment, Assault

State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr.
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

Two longtime Kentucky statehouse employees have filed ethics complaints against Democratic state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr., alleging a pattern of sexual assault and harassment dating back to early 2010.

Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, in separate complaints, allege Arnold inappropriately touched them and made lewd and vulgar comments in numerous incidents over several years. Arnold  is a veteran legislator from Sturgis.

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