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Stumbo files petition of censure or expulsion for Rep. Joe Arnold

Sturgis legislator accused of sexual harassment

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 29, 2013) — As a sexual harassment investigation against state Rep. John Arnold continues, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg filed a petition Thursday 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, D-Sturgis
Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis

Three female legislative staffers have filed complaints against Arnold, D-Sturgis, with the Legislative Ethics Commission, accusing him of unwelcoming touching and offensive comments.

“I have decided to take this action so that the full House will have the opportunity to review the evidence and the recommendation of the eight-member investigative committee I shall appoint tomorrow, after speaking with candidates from both the majority and minority caucuses,” Stumbo said. “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.”

Stumbo’s petition, which has been 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 Stumbo’s petition, a special House committee will be formed, and it will have the full power and authority to summon Rep. John Arnold, “to answer the charges, to take testimony and make an official record and issue a report … .”

“The integrity of our chamber needs to be above reproach, and I intend to see that we accept nothing less,” Stumbo said.  “I wish none of this had to occur, but I am committed to seeing it resolved in a way that is swift, fair and transparent.”