KLEC: Former Rep. Arnold found not guilty of ethics violations - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KLEC: Former Rep. Arnold did not violate ethics laws

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has found former State Rep. John Arnold did not violate state ethics laws.

It means Arnold will not be punished for the alleged sexual harassment of Capitol staffers.

The Commission needed five votes to find Arnold guilty. But one Commission member, Elmer George of Marion County, voted no, saying the Commission does not have jurisdiction over the case because Arnold resigned last year.

George is the newest Commission member, appointed in January by House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Arnold did not attend the hearing, his attorney saying he is in ill health.

But the commission heard more than three hours of sometimes graphic testimony about Arnold's alleged behavior.

The commission members heard from three Capitol staffers who claim Arnold grabbed, groped and verbally harassed them.

Yolanda Costner detailed a 2013 incident on the Capitol annex steps when Arnold allegedly grabbed the back of her pants.

"I turned around to see who grabbed me, and I was like 'Doc' what are you doing?"

"Who was behind you?" asked Commission attorney Mike Malone.

"Rep. John Arnold, who I call "Doc," responded Costner. "It was like, 'What are you doing?' He was like, Oh I just couldn't resist grabbing those pretty pink, I'm sorry, pretty red underwear."

Cassaundra Cooper told of Arnold slapping her backside.

"I said something to you him like, 'What did you just do, what were you thinking? That was inappropriate. It was all probably a garbled mess the way it came out, but that's what I pretty much said," said Cooper.

"Did he say anything to you?" asked Malone.

"No, he just kind of stood there grinning about it," said Cooper.

And Gloria Morgan, who had never before spoken publicly, wept as she told of an incident in 2009.

"He walked up to me and rubbed his hand up and down my back and at the same time asked me was I going to come out and play tonight. And I told him no that I had too much work to do, said Morgan. "And he asked me again. When I told him I had too much work to do he said, 'All work and no play is dull,'".

Arnold's attorney denies the Democrat from Sturgis intentionally did anything wrong, blaming any odd behavior on Arnold's declining mental health.

"I'm not saying that Mr. Arnold is completely incompetent. I'm not saying that at all. But his filters, when people get dementia their filters turn off. We know it. We all know it. We've seen it with parents and others," said Steven Downey.

Arnold resigned last fall when the harassment claims became public.

He is still facing civil lawsuits.

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