ACLU: Don’t rush to expel lawmaker accused of sex extortion

February 21, 2018

Rhode Island Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle, appears in Superior Court in Providence on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. A grand jury indictment unsealed Monday accuses Kettle of extorting sex from a page in the Rhode Island Senate page program. Kettle, 27, of Coventry, pleaded not guilty and was released on $50,000 personal recognizance. (Steve Szydlowski/Providence Journal via AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is urging Rhode Island lawmakers to proceed with caution as they weigh expelling a state senator accused of extorting sex from a page in the Senate’s page program.

Steven Brown, the executive director of the ACLU’s Rhode Island office, said in a letter to Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio on Tuesday that a vote to oust Republican Senate Minority Whip Nicholas Kettle could set a “dangerous” precedent.

Brown says the Rhode Island Legislature has never expelled one of its members.

Ruggerio has threatened to call for an expulsion vote if Kettle doesn’t resign.

A grand jury indictment unsealed on Monday accuses Kettle of extorting a male page for sex multiple times. He also has been charged separately with video voyeurism. Kettle has denied any wrongdoing.

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