Kentucky Democrats avoid sexual harassment scandal

By on March 3, 2014

By Stewart Lewis–

House Bill 378, which is on the floor of the Kentucky House of Representatives, would require training to prevent harassment in the legislative workplace. This bill sounds great: how can you be against the prevention of harassment, specifically sexual harassment in the workplace? Representative Jeff Donohue (D-Louisville) and the rest of the House Democrats, however, are trying to put a band-aid on a bullet wound in an attempt to save face with constituents over the fallout from the John Arnold scandal.

Allegations surfaced publicly last summer that former Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, Ky., sexually “harassed” three female employees of the Legislative Research Commission (LRC). Arnold resigned, and a committee was formed to investigate the allegations of his sexual harassment. Shortly afterward, Arnold issued a statement saying he did not harass these women, and I agree.

According to the women’s allegations, Arnold did not harass them; he assaulted them. To put it bluntly, sexual harassment would be Arnold telling an inappropriate, suggestive joke in the office. Sexual assault is something more along the lines of putting your hands up a woman’s skirt and saying something like “I could just not resist grabbing those fancy red lace panties.” Chew that quote around in your brain for a minute. Arnold is alleged to have actually said that.

The committee charged with investigating the allegations consisted of three men: Reps. Donohue, Robert Benvenuti (R – Lexington) and Arnold Simpson (D – Covington), and two women: Rita Smart (D – Richmond) and Julie Raque Adams (R – Louisville). Two of the members tried at each meeting to accomplish something, while three constantly tried to impede progress.

After four months, without examining any witnesses or looking at a single piece of evidence, the group voted three-to-two that there was nothing they could do to Arnold since he had resigned. Would you assume that the women would want to seek justice against this sexual predator? You’d be half right, if you made that assumption. However, the group voted to disband along party lines, meaning that Rita Smart, Jeff Donohue and Arnold Simpson, the Democrats of the committee, wanted to brush this under the rug – forgive and forget.

Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democratic frontrunner for this year’s Senate campaign, held a recent campaign event in Louisville where she showcased former President Bill “Slick Willie” Clinton.

Actions speak louder than words, and Kentucky Democrats will say whatever they think will get a particular demographics’ vote. Kentucky Democrats will appeal to women with hollow words, but then they put Bill Clinton in the spotlight and vote along partisan lines to prematurely disband a committee investigating sexual assault. Kentucky’s elected and campaigning Democrats don’t seem to stand behind what they preach about: having the best interests of women in mind.

Their hypocrisy is a bad example to provide to the citizens of the Commonwealth, and it is abundantly clear that House Bill 378, sponsored by Donohue, is too little, too late. Maybe an amendment to HB378 should include a provision that the legislature must meet with South Park’s “Sexual Harassment Panda.”

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