Legislator seeks donations after harassment case dismissed
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico state legislator launched a GoFundMe campaign to recover legal defense costs as a panel of lawmakers formally dismissed sexual harassment charges against him on Tuesday.
State Rep. Carl Trujillo, who lost his re-election bid in the wake of sexual harassment accusations by a former political lobbyist, said his name had been cleared with the decision by an eight-member legislative panel to dismiss charges.
Lawmakers dismissed the charges last week, but they outlined the procedural basis for the decision in a five-page order released on Tuesday. Trujillo was the first lawmaker to face a formal investigation under the Legislature’s new anti-harassment policy, adopted in January amid efforts to make the Capitol work environment safer for women and less discriminatory.
Former lobbyist Laura Bonar has accused Trujillo of touching and propositioning her as the two worked together on legislation in 2013 and 2014.
She recently declined to provide a deposition or testify under oath at a hearing scheduled for this week, prompting legislators to dismiss charges.
“Given that Ms. Bonar has declined to present herself for deposition and testify under oath, the hearing subcommittee cannot make any determinations concerning alleged violations of the anti-harassment policy,” the order states.
Bonar’s attorney, Levi Monagle, said that Bonar refused the deposition because it would have required that she disclose the identities of personal confidants — some of them victims of unrelated sexual harassment.
Trujillo, a three-term Democratic lawmaker, disputed that characterization of the proceedings, and he asserted that there was never proper evidence of probable cause to investigate him.
Bonar also objected to requests that she provide psychological and medical records.
Trujillo lost a June Democratic primary election weeks after Bonar posted her allegations of harassment online.
“The whole plan was that I would just resign and that this woman wouldn’t have to testify,” Trujillo said on Tuesday. “I’ve lost my election, but I’m an innocent man.”
In his online appeal for financial donations to offset legal costs, Trujillo is shown in a posed photograph with his wife and eldest son. It says the case caused “incalculable stress for him and his family, a damaged reputation, and a lot of money.”