Louisville, KY– Another woman has come forward with allegations that state legislator sexually harassed interns and officials took no administrative action; instead the she alleges she was punished for complaining. Amid the allegations, some are requesting investigations into House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s handling of the case.
The allegations come just weeks after Rep. John Arnold resigned after three Capitol employees accused him of sexually harassing them and accused officials of ignoring their complaints. In a letter the Legislative the latest accuser states she will file a lawsuit against the Legislative Research Commission and its former director Bobby Sherman
In the latest allegations, Nicole Cusic, a Legislative Research Commission employee alleges that she witnessed Rep. Will Coursey- (D-Symsonia) sexually harassed interns in his office. Her letter the Legislative Research Commission states that Coursey would tell jokes of a sexual nature, and made inappropriate comments about a LRC staff member. Cusic also alleges that Coursey would try to date the interns.
Cusic complained about Coursey’s behavior to LRC officials but she alleges she was punished, by being moved to a different office. In a conference with assistant LRC directors Anita Muckelroy and Roy Collins, Cusic was told she was being moved and was told she could do nothing about it.
“They told me it was out of their control, that leadership had instructed them to move me,” Cusic said, according to the Courier-Journal. “They said it came out of the speaker’s office.”
Some legislators have accused former LRC director Bobby Sherman and House Speaker Greg Stumbo of covering up numerous allegations of sexual harassment and have insisted they be thoroughly investigated.
“If the speaker requested the LRC director to transfer her, then its obvious the speaker was trying to cover up alleged improprieties against a fellow Democrat,” House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover said, according to The Courier Journal.
Rep. Coursey denies Cusic’s allegations, saying in a phone interview, “I can tell you 100 percent, there have been no inappropriate conversations.”
The LRC has been enmeshed in a messy sexual harassment scandal involving Rep. John Arnold and the new allegations are further vexing lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
LRC Bossy Sherman resigned after an investigation found that he mishandled the sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Arnold. There are allegations that former LRC director Bobby Sherman shredded pertinent documents when he cleaned out his office, but he insists the documents did not pertain to the sexual harassment allegations and were salary comparisons.
Sherman is now under investigation for shredding the documents and there could be more resignations if an investigation finds that other LRC officials tried to cover up allegations of sexual harassment.
This ongoing sexual harassment scandal is a good example how people can mishandle these types of allegations. No workplace, be it political or otherwise, can benefit from refusing to address sexual harassment or taking actions against an employee who complains. It is crucial that employers take sexual harassment allegations seriously and investigate the claims or they risk being sued.