Louisville, KY– A third woman has come forward alleging that Kentucky state Rep. John Arnold, 68, sexually harassed her, bringing the number of accusers to three and prompting lawmakers to call for reform.
Gloria Morgan filed her complaint with the Legislative Ethics Committee and Legislative Research Committee on Thursday. She also alleged that LRC ignored an earlier complaint she had filed.
According to the complaint obtained the Lexington Herald-Leader, Morgan, who works with LRC, said the harassment took place one night in 2009 during a legislative session.
Morgan’s complaint states that she and Arnold (D.-Sturgis) were leaving the Capitol Annex building at the same time when he allegedly caressed her back moving his hand to her waist. Arnold then asked Morgan to “come out and play” with him that night, but she rebuffed his advances, the Herald-Leader reported. Arnold persisted and after refusing his offer twice, Morgan stated that his “demeanor changed” and he became angry.
When Morgan went to her supervisor at the LRC, Anita Muckelroy, about the event, she was more concerned with whether Morgan was “nice” to Arnold than his inappropriate conduct.
Morgan makes the third woman to come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Arnold. Last week, two women Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner both accused Arnold of touching them inappropriately and propositioning them for sex.
On one occasion, Arnold had the audacity to grab Costner’s panties in front of another lawmaker. While the lawmaker, Rep. Reginald Meeks, had no comment about the incident, citing the investigation, he did say there was a culture in the state house that left some people more vulnerable to abuse.
Both women filed complaints, but, again, no meaningful action was taken against the randy Democrat.
In light of the numerous allegations, lawmakers moved Thursday require annual sexual harassment training for elected officials. The Legislative Research Committee is required to undergo annual sexual harassment training, but there was no such requirement for elected officials.
According to the Herald-Leader, House Speaker Greg Stumbo gave a speech on the House floor vowing to investigation the allegations against Arnold and said he approves of mandatory sexual harassment training.
His concessions, however, were coupled with admonitions targeted at the LRC. In his speech, Stumbo said, “Your institution has not treated this incident responsibly.”
When Cooper and Costner complained to the LRC, Arnold was simply instructed to avoid contact with the women unless he had business with their bosses. The women contend that Arnold ignored those requests and continued to seek them out.
Stumbo also said that following the investigation he would determine whether there needed to be changes to sexual harassment procedures and policies.
Arnold has not given any public statements about the allegations.
The attorney representing Cooper and Costner, Thomas Clay, says his clients though the only way to stop Arnold was to speak out publicly and that more women will probably come forward with allegations.
It appears that Kentucky has a scandal brewing similar to the one San Diego has been plagued with for the better part of the summer, but with Bob Filner leaving office today, the California city can put the matter behind them. Kentucky’s sexual harassment problem, however, may be just getting started.