Sex harassment case against New Mexico lawmaker dismissed
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Sexual harassment charges based on allegations by a female former political lobbyist against New Mexico state Rep. Carl Trujillo have been dismissed after the woman decided not to testify to a House ethics subcommittee, according to an order published Wednesday.
Trujillo has vigorously denied accusations by former lobbyist Laura Bonar that he inappropriately touched and propositioned her as the two worked together on legislation in 2013 and 2014.
The three-term legislator lost his re-election bid in the June Democratic primary shortly after Bonar posted her accusations online and urged Trujillo to resign. No Republican ran in the general election in which Democratic nominee Andrea Romero beat out a write-in challenger.
Bonar and her attorney could not be reached immediately for comment. She has repeatedly declined interview requests through an attorney.
Trujillo said in a brief statement that he was thankful for the preliminary order that dismisses charges and is awaiting publication of a more detailed final order before commenting further.
He previously described the harassment allegations against him as a politically motivated effort to aid his primary election opponent.
An investigative House panel and outside counsel previously said there was credible evidence of sexual harassment on two occasions. The new order dismisses those charges based on further recommendation by outside counsel, noting that a House subcommittee “will issue a final order with reasons for and the effect of the dismissal after further consideration.”
The order was signed by Democratic Rep. Wonda Johnson of Church Rock and Republican Rep. Gail Armstrong of Magdalena.
An additional document from the proceedings shows that Bonar decided not to testify and recommends dismissal of the case.
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.
This story has been corrected to fix the home town and party affiliation of state Rep. Gail Armstrong.