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Wednesday, January 24, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyWestlake ‘woman problem’ grows: Seven step forward

Westlake ‘woman problem’ grows: Seven step forward

TSUNAMI — SEVEN WOMEN COME FORWARD

The Anchorage Daily News is reporting the number of women who have been harassed by Rep. Dean Westlake is up to seven. And Must Read Alaska is hearing there will be more.

The original complaint is here.

Hawkins

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

1. Rep. Westlake of District 40 must resign. His written apology is not enough. The Democrats will offer three names to the governor. They are probably already working on this; I predict the governor will choose a woman to fill out Westlake’s term.

2. Rep. Chris Tuck must also resign if he withheld the letter that was addressed to him and Speaker Bryce Edgmon about the harassment issue — a letter he had in his possession since March 13. The woman, Olivia Garrett, making the allegation in the original letter says she believes Edgmon never got the letter that was addressed to him. Did he?

If not, this means for many months, Tuck’s refusal to act on the letter from Garrett created an environment of fear among all other women workers in the building, because they knew nothing was going to be done about the complaint. Garrett eventually left working for the Legislature in August. Tuck allowed Westlake to continue harassing women for many months. Tuck has to go. Edgmon? We would want his statement under oath.

3. Any other legislator who knew about the letter and did not come forward — Republican or Democrat — was complicit in allowing women to be harassed and fearful for their jobs for the past year.

4. What Westlake is accused of doing is a criminal offense, not just a human resources problem, and should be referred to authorities. Grabbing an aide’s bottom during a gallery walk is a sexual assault. The police need to take statements.

5. The special joint subcommittee on harassment is not a robust enough body to put these legislators under oath and get to the truth. It’s subcommittee is a political fig leaf.

6. This calls for a special independent counsel. Legislative Council needs to appoint such a person from outside the building to fully investigate, like former judge Dana Fabe or HR professional Lynne Curry.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Guess it takes more then just rigging an election to get ousted. Sexual misconduct must have been going on for a long time for people to get this complacent.

    • Correct on both counts. 🙂

    • Who rigged an election Jack?

  • Well said, Suzanne Downing. Let me pick this apart. I’m writing this from MY education, training and experience in another State. Alaska is different but I’m betting on this type of thing, each State is very similar. However, I could be wrong when it comes to Alaska since I was not trained in Alaska law.

    We must remember, Westlake is INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty by verdict issued by the trier of fact. The trier of fact can be one of three: Westlake, a Judge, or a Jury.

    If the trier of fact is Westlake and he pleads guilty, he tried himself. If he pleads not guilty, he can choose judge or jury to be the trier of fact.

    If the trier of fact is a Judge, a Judge must follow the statutory law and if the preponderance of evidence proves Westlake guilty, the Judge has no discretion unless given discretion by statute and the Judge must work within the Statutory penalty.

    If the trier of fact is a jury, even if he’s statutorily guilty, according to common law, a jury of his peers can make any decision they want and no judge can instruct them differently.

    After each violation results in a verdict, it’s final.

    Here’s a list and I believe each point might apply:
    1. Grabbing her butt is a CRIMINAL battery (unlawfully touching someone). Each woman needs to file a separate criminal complaint. If the DA charges and decides to prosecute all cases together, each is a count. If there is a more specific “sexual battery” statute, that would be the proper charge. Depends on how things are worded.
    2. Unlawfully touching her is also a CIVIL battery, subject to lawsuit by each victim. I don’t know if it can be a class action but if it happens that way, I’d bet more women would come out of the woodwork because it’s more comfortable to go at it as a group than suffer the embarrassment singly. Many women don’t report sexual assaults and batteries of any magnitude due to the embarrassment.
    3. Since it was her butt, that’s sexual harassment, at least.
    4. If convicted, he needs to be included in a computer listing sex offenders. I’m not sure that this qualifies to be listed as a registered sex offender but since there are multiple victims, it should be.
    5. Each entity he’s a member of can administer discipline in addition, whether the criminal prosecution results in conviction or not, whether Olivia Garrett wants them to or not. I don’t know if the Legislature can bring disciplinary action as well but it definitely embarrasses the State.
    Point: Olivia Garrett can forgive if she so desires but she complained and now it’s on record as a sexual criminal act – at work. If it’s a misdemeanor, Garrett isn’t required to file a criminal complaint. If it’s a felony (I doubt it is), the State can prosecute it whether or not Garrett wants them to. Notwithstanding the gravity, whether Garrett prosecutes or not, any witness can file criminal charges because they observed (via any senses) it occur in their presence. They don’t have to SEE it.
    6. CORRECT: resignation is not enough to satisfy justice nor is administrative discipline enough. Logically, he needs to answer to the People since he’s a public officer.
    7. CORRECT: Tuck needs to go as well if he sat on it, protecting Westlake. This also disrespects the women.
    8. Edgemon, if he did nothing, he’s no different; his position doesn’t give him authority to adjudicate a criminal offense by shoving it under the carpet, keeping it quiet, or anything other than pursuing it to its proper conclusion.
    Sorry you’re on the hot seat Olivia. Get it solidly in your mind, you did nothing wrong and it’s your decision. You can forgive him but you cannot forgive a crime against society or another person.

    Statistically, Jack Wright is correct. It’s similar to DUI; a person usually gets caught after he’s done it about 500 times. Westlake has probably got a history in his community since high school that demonstrates his disrespect of women.

    I hope this prevents misconceptions and outhouse lawyers.

  • When I said in my previous comment, “Westlake has probably got a history in his community since high school that demonstrates his disrespect of women.”, that is if he’s guilty of such conduct.

  • Braund is correct IMO.

    Westlake deserves due process. (Which ironically is something Tuck allegedly denied the accuser – if true, Tuck should resign.

    Let’s not get so caught up in the #metoo dogpile that we fail to follow the rule of law and due process.

  • DUE PROCESS….

  • I am just wondering if Ms. Downing would advocate the same thing if Westlake was a Republican?