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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has cleared the way for a full investigation into state Rep. John Arnold, the lawmaker accused of sexually harassing two female employees.
Speaker Stumbo filed a petition Thursday afternoon that sets the stage for the full House to investigate the alleged conduct and decide whether censure or expulsion is in order.
Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, Kentucky, is accused of misconduct dating back to 2010.
Two women who work at the State Capitol in Frankfort filed the sexual harassment complaint against Arnold earlier this month. The women work for the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) which provides support to the General Assembly.
The accusations against Arnold are outlined in two documents filed with the LRC and detail alleged sexual assault, harassment, stalking and verbal abuse.
In a news release, speaker Stumbo says he will appoint an 8-member investigative committee on Friday.
"The Constitution gives each chamber of the General Assembly authority to determine its rule of proceedings and to punish a member for disorderly behavior and, with a two-thirds vote, to expel him or her," said Speaker Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg.
Speaker Stumbo says it's not a decision he takes lightly, "and it needs to be resolved quickly," because the allegations have become a distraction.
Stumbo's petition, which was filed with the House Clerk, cites the House's constitutional and statutory authority to carry out the needed investigation and to take action thereon in the January 2014 Regular Session of the General Assembly.
Under Speaker Stumbo's petition, a special House committee will be formed, and it will have the full power and authority to summon Representative John Arnold to answer the charges against him.
Speaker Stumbo has also sent a letter to Senate President Robert Stivers, requesting he provide any notice he gave asking for a meeting for the Legislative Research Commission next week. Speaker Stumbo noted that his office "has taken great care to avoid any appearance of interfering with the impartial investigation called for by our LRC policy. If, as stated in press reports, you have questions about specific actions taken by the Director in this case, those questions should be directed to him."
Arnold has not commented on the allegations, and has not responded to requests for interviews.