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Recut: Kentucky State Government's Sexual Harassment Problem

Sexual Harassment Complaint Form
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The Kentucky Legislature has no official policy against sexual harassment. Yep, you read that right.

Despite some pretty big scandals over the years, including news last year that four Republican lawmakers — including former House Speaker Jeff Hoover — secretly paid a former staffer after she alleged the men sexually harassed her, state lawmakers still haven't passed any anti-harassment bills.

For state employees, however, there are specific rules against sexual harassment. But, as we learned in a previous episode, even with rules in place, Kentucky employees have filed about 250 formal sexual harassment complaints over the last five years, and experts say that number probably represents only a portion of total incidents.

And then last week, our newsroom broke two stories:

Capitol Bureau Chief Ryland Barton reported that former House Speaker Hoover is fighting to seal a deposition of a former staffer who reportedly accused him of sexual harassment —  and assault.

And Eleanor Klibanoff with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting wrote about a court ruling that forced the state Labor Cabinet  to release the names of its employees accused of harassment — even if the claims aren’t substantiated. After the ruling, Eleanor found out that the man whose name they’d been withholding has a long list of criminal charges, including domestic violence.

Ryland and Eleanor join us today on Recut.

Jonese Franklin