Report: 'Very serious case of retaliation' in lawmaker's harassment case

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - The Senate issued a report Wednesday that said that one of its members, Republican David Wilson of Wasilla, engaged in a “very serious case of retaliation” when he criticized a House staff member and the House speaker over assertions that Wilson engaged in sexual harassment.

The report, by the Legislature’s human resources manager, said Wilson improperly threatened the job of the staff member and lied during a press conference on Dec. 7 when he said the incident, described as sexual harassment in media accounts, “didn’t happen.”

[House speaker reacts to accusation from Sen. Wilson, calls for new investigation]

“While the incident did not fit the definition of hostile work environment sexual harassment, the event did occur and it was an uncomfortable, if not inappropriate, interaction between Senator Wilson and [the staff member],” said the report, written by Skiff Lobaugh, the Legislature’s Human Resource Manager. The report, dated Dec. 8, 2017, was released Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee.

By saying the incident didn’t happen, the report said, Wilson may have discouraged future complaints from being filed.

The Senate has put Wilson on three months of probation and required him to take training about retaliation.

[Investigator: Sen. Wilson did not violate sex harassment policy; related investigation ongoing]

Wilson didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

He’s the third Legislator recently accused of inappropriate conduct. One House member, Dean Westlake, D-Kiana, resigned in December over sexual harassment allegations. His replacement, John Lincoln of Kotzebue, was sworn in Wednesday.

Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, was asked to resign by House Speaker Bryce Edgmon, D-Dillingham, after a news account that he hit a woman and broke her eardrum after a night of heavy drinking in Juneau earlier this month. Fansler has yet to respond to Edgmon, but on Wednesday his seat in the House chambers was empty and Rep. Chris Tuck, the majority leader, asked that he be excused from attending.

Tuck said in an interview later that he didn’t know where Fansler was, but thought he was still in Juneau.

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