The Richmond Register

Local News

August 29, 2013

Stumbo sets stage for Arnold’s possible ouster

Accused of sexual harassment

RICHMOND — FRANKFORT – Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo on Thursday filed a petition for the censure or expulsion of Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, setting the stage for the possible ouster of the Union County lawmaker accused of sexual harassment by legislative employees.

“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 investigation committee I shall appoint tomorrow,” Stumbo said.

Arnold, 69, has been accused by three female legislative employees of sexual harassment. All three filed formal complaints with the Legislative Ethics Commission, alleging among other things that Arnold made lewd and vulgar comments or touched them inappropriately.

The allegations first became public when WFPL Radio of Louisville broadcast a story last Wednesday in the middle of the special session on legislative redistricting. Arnold left that day without speaking to reporters and did not show up on Thursday or Friday.

Attempts to speak with Arnold, a chiropractor and farmer, have been unsuccessful. He didn’t answer calls to his chiropractic office or to his home Thursday nor did he respond to a voice message seeking comment left on his home answering service.

Arnold represents Union County and parts of Henderson and Daviess counties and was first elected to the House in 1994.

Stumbo also announced House leaders will send Arnold a letter informing him “he will be suspended as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.”

Stumbo has informed Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, and Gov. Steve Beshear of those actions.

On the day the WFPL story was broadcast, Rep. Tom Riner, D-Louisville, addressed the full House, saying Arnold’s behavior was unacceptable and has since called for Arnold’s resignation.

All members of the House ― Democrats and Republicans ― received an email from Stumbo on Thursday informing them he had filed the petition. In the email, Stumbo wrote “you may be called upon to sit in judgment of this member. You should therefore not form any opinion or make any public comments which may impair your ability to perform this difficult but essential task.”

Stumbo said last week only the House, acting as an entire body, could censure or expel a member.

An attorney for two of Arnold’s accusers, Thomas Clay, has said there may be other complaints about other relationships between LRC employees and lawmakers and said his clients are considering filing suits in Franklin Circuit Court.

Stumbo has repeatedly said the complaints were being investigated by the LRC and its director, Bobby Sherman, using American Bar Association guidelines. But that hasn’t satisfied very many, including some in his own Democratic House caucus.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, Senate Minority Leader R.J. Palmer, D-Winchester, and Hoover requested a closed meeting of the Legislative Research Commission, comprised of leaders of both parties in both chambers to discuss the investigation. But Stumbo said such a meeting would be premature.

Even after Stumbo’s announcement Thursday that he planned to appoint an eight-member committee of the House to investigate the charges, Hoover and Stivers said an LRC meeting remains in order.

“We still need, and must have, a meeting of the LRC,” Hoover said. “The Speaker said last week he thought such a meeting was a good idea. We do not need to further cloud the issue and circumstances surrounding the allegations. I call on the Speaker again to have a full meeting of the LRC next Wednesday to properly address the situation.”

Stivers said Stumbo’s response since the allegations became public has been inconsistent and his call for a House investigation “does not resolve the problem of the legislature’s exposure to threatened litigation and money judgments” or resolve how to address “the culture that has been exposed by the actions of Rep. John Arnold.”

“The Speaker has stated that it would be ‘premature’ for LRC to inquire as to what investigation(s) are ongoing yet he has initiated his own investigation for that same purpose,” Stivers said in a written statement.

Stivers again on Thursday called for an LRC meeting on Sept. 4.

Stumbo, said “due process is crucial in legal matters, but we need to be ready if the findings show that these acts did indeed take place. This is not a decision I take lightly and it needs to be resolved quickly.”

Stumbo made similar remarks during a floor speech last week during the special session but even some of his own caucus said later he didn’t go far enough.

He was criticized Thursday by Republican Party of Kentucky Chairman Steve Robertson for his statements regarding when he first learned of the accusations against Arnold.

Stumbo initially said he’d only heard rumors of the allegations but he later released emails his staff sent to Sherman referencing the allegations and asking to receive a report when the LRC investigation was complete.

Stumbo’s petition was filed with the House Clerk and cites Section 39 of the Kentucky Constitution which says each chamber of the General Assembly “may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish a member for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member….”

“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,” Stumbo said.

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at rellis@cnhi.com . Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort .

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • May 30 last school day for students

    After 16 snows days and two weather delays this winter, the Madison County School Board decided Thursday to end the school year on Friday, May 30.

    April 19, 2014

  • 4-19 TechExtra1.jpg Students showcase projects in Technology Extravaganza

    Madison County School students showed off just how tech savvy they can be during the district’s sixth annual Technology Extravaganza on Thursday at Madison Central High School. After the showcase, more than 350 students were honored for their work.

    April 19, 2014 7 Photos

  • 4-19 SchoolBoardJesseWard.jpg Ward honored for service; tech center named after him

    Retired Madison County educator Jesse Ward was recognized Thursday for his many years of service. To honor him, Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the board’s decision to rename the district’s technology training center on North Second Street in Richmond the Jesse P. Ward Technology and Training Center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Brian Smith.jpg Berea man indicted on 24 child porn counts

    A Madison grand jury has indicted a Berea man on 24 counts related to child pornography.

    Brian J. Smith, 26, is charged with four counts of distribution and 20 counts of possession of matter portraying sexual performances by a minor.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-19 Gregory Powell.jpg Police apprehend burglary suspect

    An observant witness was able to help Richmond police catch a burglary suspect shortly after a break-in Thursday afternoon on Savanna Drive off Berea Road.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-18 PackTrack1a.jpg Walkers, runners of every age ‘Pack the Track’

    Waco Elementary and Model Laboratory schools students raised more than $8,000 (and counting) for the annual Pack the Track event at Eastern Kentucky University’s Tom Samuels Track Thursday, said Kim DeCoste of the Madison County Diabetes Coalition.

    April 18, 2014 14 Photos

  • 4-18 George WilliamsWEB.jpg Suicide attempt fatal for inmate

    A Todd County man died Tuesday at a Lexington hospital following a suicide attempt at the Madison County Detention Center, according to Madison and Fayette county officials.
    George Kenneth Williams, 50, of Allensville, was transported Monday afternoon by Madison County EMS to Baptist Health Richmond, according to EMS Director Jimmy Cornelison. He was then transferred to Baptist Health in Lexington where he died Tuesday, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCDW instructor indicted on charges of failing to provide training

    A Madison County grand jury has indicted a carry-concealed weapons permit instructor on charges he falsely claimed to have provided instruction to one person for a CCDW permit and provided incomplete training to three others.
    Christopher D. Fins was indicted April 9 on one count of CCDW instructor not providing firearms training and three counts of providing incomplete firearms training.
    Fins faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of all four felony charges.

    April 17, 2014

  • EKU dorm sprinklers may have been activated maliciously

    Fire-suppression sprinklers went off about 2:30 a.m. Thursday in Eastern Kentucky University’s Martin Hall dormitory, prompting its evacuation.
    Fluctuating pressure then caused a campus water main to break, according to EKU spokesperson Mark Whitt.
    The cause is uncertain, but university officials are investigating to determine if the sprinklers were activated maliciously, Whitt said.
    The residence hall houses 260 students who were placed in other university housing or stayed with friends. All were able to move back in later in the day, he said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sixth person charged in motel meth bust

    A sixth person has been charged in connection with a methamphetamine-making operation discovered last week at the Bel Air Motel in Richmond.
    Roger M. Million, 24, Moberly Road, was charged Wednesday with manufacturing methamphetamine.

    April 17, 2014

AP Video
Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results