ANCHORAGE (KTUU) 3:45 p.m. UDPATE
House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, has released a statement in response to accusations made this morning by Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla.
At the news conference, seen in the video above, Wilson sharply criticized Edgemon's handling of sexual harassment allegations against Wilson and attributed inflammatory, second-hand remarks to the House Speaker. Here is Edgemon's response, including a call for Wilson to be investigated for a potential violation of the legislature's harassment policy, in full:
“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,” said Speaker Edgmon.
“I feel compelled to set the record straight, I am constrained by confidentiality requirements regarding both personnel matters and discussions which take place during executive session. I cannot comment on the findings of the report, as it is not yet public, and this remains a confidential personnel matter. However, the statements about why I chose to allow this matter to rest this spring are unequivocally false. Executive sessions are confidential, and though Senator Wilson thought it appropriate to summarize my intentions during an executive session, I am not permitted to give a full explanation of context. I will say, it became apparent that I could not both pursue the matter through Legislative Council and respect the wishes of the staffer in question that the matter be kept private and not politicized."
“I also feel the need to respond to a remark Senator Wilson attributed to me. I did not, at any point, express a desire to let Senator Wilson ‘hang and burn’, which he claims originated from a conversation he had with Senate leadership. I find that term highly offensive and derogatory and I would never say that. I don't begrudge Senator Wilson for wanting to clear his name and reputation, but the way he chose to conduct himself today was unfortunate."
Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, held a news conference today in Anchorage denying allegations that he sexually harassed a legislative staffer during a public encounter last June.
Wilson said the Legislative Affairs Agency has investigated the incident and found “that these allegations are not substantiated.” The freshman lawmaker said he is calling for the release of the report and related surveillance video.
According to the Juneau Empire, the encounter came during a closed-door meeting of the House Majority Caucus. Wilson was outside the meeting.
The Empire reported that Wilson pressed his ear to the door and a staffer asked him to stop: "The staffer walked between Wilson and the door and physically blocked him from approaching the door."
"Wilson brought out his cellphone and either recorded or pretended to record audio through the door. The Empire observed Wilson pass his phone between the staffer’s legs, holding the phone to the door. The staffer was wearing a skirt," the paper reported.
The event was witnessed by Empire reporter James Brooks and KTVA reporter Liz Raines , whose published accounts contradict elements of Wilson’s version of events.
Wilson told reporters today that he expects to be vindicated by the Legislative Affairs Agency report but said he has not yet seen the document. He said Senate President Pete Kelly described the conclusions made by the report in a phone call.
In this video, following today’s news conference, Wilson demonstrates what he says took place.
This story will be updated.