Sen. David Wilson said at a news conference this morning that a report he hasn’t personally seen has cleared him of sexual harassment related to an incident with a female legislative aide in June.
“I am glad that there was an independent investigation that was done by the non-partisan Legislative Affairs Agency,” he said. “This report was recently released to the Senate President (Pete Kelly), and the Senate president has reviewed the findings with me. The independent investigation and the video show these allegations are not substantiated. I’m asking for the release to the public as I feel that full transparency is needed in this matter.”
The altercation occurred in June, during the legislative session when Wilson was apparently trying to listen in to a closed-door meeting in House chambers, possibly as a joke. A staffer physically blocked him and asked him to leave. At least two reporters said they then witnessed Wilson place his phone against the door, between the staffer’s legs. The staffer was wearing a skirt. The incident went unreported at the time, and there was no legal complaint filed. The case surfaced in the last month in a post by the Alaska Landmine.
Security footage of the altercation was preserved by the Legislature and was recently reviewed by Wilson, with the permission of the Legislative Council. The report is apparently based on that footage. Neither has been released, but Wilson said he expects the report to be released within a week or two. Wilson later added that he has not personally read the report, but that Kelly read parts of it to him during a phone conversation.
Wilson also demanded an apology prime-time from KTVA reporter Liz Raines, the only woman to have initially reported the incident, but not any of the other reports on the incident that came out at the same time. He accused Raines of going on a “media blitz” that was “filled with lies.” He made no mention of Alaska Landmine blogger Jeff Landfield or Juneau Empire reporter James Brooks, who also witnessed the event.
Wilson also called on House Speaker Bryce Edgmon and Rules Chair Gabrielle LeDoux to step down from their positions for statements they made to the media in the wake of the incident. Wilson said the incident “has been manipulated for political purposes.”
Sexual harassment has a strict legal definition, and there’s been debate about whether the incident—even if it occurred as witnessed by the reporters—met that threshold. Reporters participating in the news conference asked if Wilson has placed his phone between the staffers legs during the incident, and he said, “I’m on the record as saying, ‘No that never occurred.'” When asked if his actions could’ve made others uncomfortable, he said “I can only speak of my own actions.”
When asked by another reporter if he had slapped ADN reporter Nat Herz during another altercation during the session, Wilson was vague.
“All I can say at this time is I did not assault him.”