Legislature has 2 sexual misconduct complaints since 2008
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Over the last decade, the Maine Legislature has received two complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment against legislators, records obtained Thursday by The Associated Press through a public records request show.
Both complaints were against House lawmakers. The Maine Senate has not received any such complaints since 2008.
The Maine Legislature’s executive director’s office declined to release correspondence and further details about the complaints. The office said they are not “public documents” and pointed to Maine open records law that exempts certain misconduct complaints or charges from public disclosure.
Officials said they are still working on tracking down documents that show whether any disciplinary action was taken.
The AP’s request showed six of 186 lawmakers did not attend the in-person harassment training last December. But the six lawmakers satisfied training requirements by reviewing and signing the harassment policy.
Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Nate Libby said he expects lawmakers will vote soon on his proposals to increase harassment training requirements for lawmakers. He said he’s been speaking with other legislative leaders and that a draft of his proposals will be ready for a committee to review in early January.
Currently, lawmakers can satisfy training requirements by reviewing and signing the harassment policy. Libby wants to require annual, in-person training, up from the training currently offered every other year.
Libby called current requirements “insufficient.”
“The idea is that the current system allows for a legislator to miss the harassment prevention training and go through an entire two-year period without having gone through a training except for signing a piece of paper with the legislature’s sexual harassment policy,” he said.
Libby said that state legislative staff already faces stricter requirements. He said that state human resource professionals can provide trainings to legislators at no additional cost.
The senator said he also wants to explore requiring harassment training for lobbyists. He said that he’s received support from Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon, who didn’t immediately respond to request for comment Thursday.