Feb. 9 American Oddities

Outspoken California #MeToo advocate accused of misconduct

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Legislature’s widening sexual misconduct scandal now includes allegations against a Democratic lawmaker known for her fierce advocacy of the #MeToo movement.

A man who worked for another lawmaker alleges that Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia groped him in the dugout after a softball game in 2014.

Garcia says she doesn’t recall the incident but will cooperate with an investigation. Daniel Fierro said he decided to reveal the incident because of Garcia’s outspokenness in the #MeToo movement.

The phrase #MeToo wass used to tell personal experiences with sexual harassment on social media last fall after a New York Times expose of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.


Records show public paid for hotel tied to prostitute report

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Records show taxpayer funds were used to pay for at least two hotel rooms that a Utah lawmaker who resigned this week is alleged to have used to meet up with a prostitute last year.

After the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported allegations Thursday that Republican Rep. Jon Stanard twice hired a prostitute in 2017, House and state elections officials said they were checking to see if taxpayer or campaign money was used for the hotel stays that the report alleges Stanard booked.

Stanard, who resigned Tuesday night, was reimbursed for hotel stays in Salt Lake City when Stanard was attending legislative meetings at the state Capitol. 


Oregon lawmaker resigning amid groping allegations

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon state senator is resigning after an investigation determined he had harassed women in the Capitol with prolonged hugging, groping and other unwelcome physical contact. Sen. Jeff Kruse, in a statement Thursday, remained defiant, proclaiming his innocence. He said his resignation is effective March 15.

An investigative report released Tuesday said the long-time Republican senator from the former timber town of Roseburg had groped or gave lingering hugs to two female senators, two law students who used to work for him, Republican and non-partisan staffers, a former legislative aide and a lobbyist. The report said the behavior had continued for years, despite warnings that he stop.


Ethics complaint: Affair affected mayor’s police policy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Nashville community group has filed an ethics complaint alleging that Mayor Megan Barry’s extramarital affair with the then-head of her security detail unduly influenced her criminal justice policy.

Community Oversight Now said in its complaint Wednesday that Barry’s relationship with Sgt. Robert Forrest led her to protect the interests of Metro Nashville police over the community.

The complaint cited Barry’s response to the February 2017 fatal police shooting of Jocques Clemmons, an unarmed black man, and her resistance to a citizen-led police review board.

Barry spokesman Sean Braisted says the mayor’s policy positions are based on staff and community input.

The ethics complaint has prompted a city investigation, the third probe launched since Barry disclosed the affair last week.