Sexual harassment complaints filed against Kentucky Rep. John Arnold
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two women who work at the State Capitol in Frankfort have filed a sexual harassment complaint against a veteran legislator.
If the charges are true, it could cause the lawmaker to lose his seat.
The accusations are contained in two documents filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, in Western Kentucky, is accused of misconduct dating back to 2010.
The complaints filed by Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner, detail alleged sexual assault, harassment, stalking and verbal abuse.
The women work for the Legislative Research Commission, the LRC, which provides support to the General Assembly.
"Basically, LRC is incapable of taking any corrective action because this man is an elected official. They don't have any authority over him. So they took their complaint to the appropriate body where things can be done address this situation," said attorney Tom Clay, who is representing the women.
In one specific incident, outside the Capitol building, Arnold is accused of pulling the back of Costner's pants and underwear, saying he "Just could not resist grabbing those fancy red lace panties."
"I can assure you it took a great deal of courage for these women to put in writing what they have been subjected to and all the things they tried to accomplish without going this way," said Clay.
Arnold is saying nothing. He did not respond to a phone call and did not appear at a scheduled committee hearing.
But others are talking.
"I am confident that our Ethics Commission, those folks, will look at this and investigate it make sure, whatever happened, they'll take the right action," said Gov. Steve Beshear.
Rep. Tom Riner of Louisville got a standing ovation on the House floor when he addressed the issue, without mentioning Arnold by name.
Riner says he has known of the allegations since March and encouraged with women to file the formal complaint.
WDRB asked Riner if he would like to see Arnold resign.
"I would like to see any legislator resign who has done what these women have alleged has been done to them," said Riner.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo's office says Stumbo has been "proactive and thorough in directing that fair and effective action be taken."
If The Ethics Commission finds Arnold guilty, it could assess a fine or go so far as to recommend expulsion.
Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All rights reserved.