READ THE REPORT HERE
A report completed by the Legislative Affairs Agency in November backs up what Sen. David Wilson has been saying for months: The dispute between him and a legislative aide working for House Speaker Bryce Edgmon did not amount to sexual harassment or even a hostile work environment.
That report was released by the Senate Rules Committee today.
“In conclusion, this event did not fit the definition of hostile work environment sexual harassment. Senator Wilson’s conduct did not violate the Legislative Council Policy on Sexual and Other Workplace Harassment.”
“While my investigation did not find a violation of the Legislative Council Policy on Sexual and Other Workplace Harassment, this was nevertheless an uncomfortable situation, and one that was made more uncomfortable for HSE because of the unequal status, in the legislative workplace, of legislative staff and legislators.”
The dispute in question arose in June when the staffer asked Sen. Wilson to leave the hallway in front of the Speaker’s Chambers. He challenged her authority to order him from the area. The media became involved when KTVA reporter Liz Raines stated that Wilson put a cell phone between the staffer’s legs, an account that he disputes.
In fact, the report states the cell phone was never closer than one to two feet from the aide, something that Wilson has asserted for weeks.
Wilson was quickly accused by Speaker Edgmon and Rules Chair Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux of sexual harassment, but neither has retracted their statements.
Senate Leadership issued the following statement:
“The Alaska State Senate will responsibly and transparently investigate all issues that potentially compromise a safe and respectful workplace. The Senate takes very seriously the protection of all legislative employees.
“Further, Senate Leadership has heard House Speaker Bryce Edgmon’s concerns of potential retaliatory actions in this matter. We also take allegations of retaliation very seriously, and are in the process of investigating to determine if additional action is necessary.”
The Senate Leadership is referring to a press release from Rep. Edgmon, which accused Wilson of castigating people who came forward. He felt the press conference held by Wilson last week violated the harassment policy.
“Senator Wilson crossed the line of appropriate behavior by using a press conference to chastise individuals who came forward as witnesses to an alleged incident of harassment. I believe this is a violation of the legislature’s harassment policy and warrants a serious investigation by the Senate,” Speaker Edgmon said on Dec. 7.
“I’m happy the report came and I’m requesting the video be released as well to show clear and convincing evidence,” Wilson said. “I disagree with some of the statements, but I’ll leave it be for right now.”