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6 complaints filed under New Mexico anti-harassment policy

May 3, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Six harassment complaints have been reported this year under the New Mexico Legislature’s revised anti-harassment policy.

But the Legislative Council Service — the administrative arm of the Legislature — said none of the complaints, including three instances involving lawmakers, have triggered full-blown investigations and several were resolved internally by those involved, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday.

The agency declined to disclose specific details or the identities of the parties involved in complaints in which a review found no evidence to warrant formal charges of wrongdoing.

One of the complaints was filed by a legislator against another legislator then dismissed after being reviewed by legislative leaders and an outside attorney, according to the Legislative Council Service.

Another was filed by a legislator against a lobbyist, and one involved allegations against a lawmaker by a legislative staffer. Both of those matters were resolved internally, said Legislative Council Service attorney Jon Boller.

The other three allegations that have surfaced since Jan. 1 did not involve lawmakers and instead involved legislative staffers and administrators, and a state employee, Boller said.

Formal complaints and informal reports can trigger an investigation under the revised policy, which was adopted by lawmakers in January 2018 after a slew of sexual misconduct claims in New Mexico and around the nation.

So far, only one complaint under the revised anti-harassment policy has led to an investigation.

Under the anti-harassment policy, sexual harassment complaints filed against a sitting legislator are considered by three top-ranking legislators - including lawmakers from both political parties — and an outside expert.

If any one of the four individuals believes a complaint merits further investigation within a five-day review period, it is sent to an internal ethics panel for additional scrutiny.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com