West Buechel councilman fined for apparent sexual gesture made at meeting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- West Buechel councilman Loy Crawford called a sexual gesture he's accused of making during a meeting earlier this month a "big, big, big misunderstanding."

It happened while Elizabeth Bierbaum, the city's community center director, was addressing council members during a public meeting earlier this month.

She and others at the meeting July 10 interpreted the gesture as being obscene and sexual. On Thursday night, the city's ethics board heard from both sides after Bierbaum filed a complaint with the mayor.

"I did nothing wrong, and I said nothing wrong, and it will bite them in the bud," Crawford said.

The accuser and the accused sat at opposite sides of the same table.

Bierbaum: In this day and age, that's sexual harassment. You're representing the city."

Crawford: "I think you should be ashamed of yourself.' 

Bierbaum: "How you demean women ... That was demeaning."

After seeing video of the July 10 incident again, the ethics board decided Crawford is in the wrong. It found him guilty of harassment of a sexual nature against Bierbaum. Crawford is ordered to pay a $500 fine, and the board recommended the full council take a vote that he be removed from office. The board also suggested Crawford attend sexual harassment classes.

"Ms Bierbaum should be ashamed for taking what she received and turning it into what she believed and wanted other people to believe ... to get a sexual story out," Crawford said.

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