The Richmond Register

State News

September 25, 2013

Lawmaker calls for KSP probe of LRC shredding

FRANKFORT — Frankfort’s sexual harassment controversy took another turn Tuesday with lawmakers calling for a state police investigation into reports of document shredding.

The Courier-Journal reported Monday that Bobby Sherman, who resigned Friday as director of the Legislative Research Commission, went to his office Sunday with other LRC employees and shredded documents.

Sherman abruptly resigned amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against former Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, by two female employees of the LRC.

Arnold contends he has done nothing wrong, but he resigned from the legislature on Sept. 13, saying he has been “destroyed politically” by the allegations.

On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, citing the shredding story, sent a letter to Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, urging them “to request the Kentucky State Police to promptly investigate this matter. The citizens of the commonwealth are owed the assurance of knowing their government operates in an ethical matter.”

Later the same day, Stumbo’s press office released Hoover’s letter and one from LRC Deputy Director Robert Jenkins explaining what sort of documents were shredded Sunday.

Jenkins, along with Roy Collins, the LRC assistant director for Human Resources; Steve King, an inventory control supervisor; and Rita Ratliff, an administrative officer for the legislative process; were with Sherman when he shredded the documents Sunday.

The release also included a memo from Stumbo to Rick Devers, KSP legislative security specialist, asking him to provide KSP with the letters and his request that KSP “take whatever actions it deems appropriate.”

Jenkins’ memo to Stivers and Stumbo was a response to their request for assurance that no files related to the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations were among the documents shredded Sunday.

“I wish to reiterate that no information related to any threatened litigation was destroyed,” Jenkins wrote. He said those documents related to the investigation have always been maintained “in the office of Mr. Collins, who, in his capacity as assistant director for Human Resources, is the appropriate record holder. Mr. Sherman, Mr. Collins, and Ms. Ratliff have confirmed that no litigation records were destroyed.”

Jenkins said that documents destroyed Sunday “were either duplicates or other material that was safe to be destroyed.” The documents shredded constituted “fifteen years’ worth of stacked up chronological junk” dating to the time Sherman was hired as LRC Director in 1999.

He went on to tell Stumbo and Stivers the documents included “personal junk mail,” information related to refinancing a house mortgage, various memoranda regarding committee meetings or lawmaker travel, salary lists for staff and other routine memoranda.

Both Stumbo and Stivers have said they were unaware Sherman returned to his office after resigning and shredded papers.

Hoover’s letter also raised another question which was being asked around the capitol this week – why, after resigning on Friday, was Sherman in the building Sunday and how did he gain access to the building?

A spokesman for KSP said that the agency had not yet received a request to investigate the matter.

Sherman’s resignation and the revelation he shredded documents over the weekend come in the midst of an investigation into allegations by three LRC female employees that they were sexually harassed by Arnold.

Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner filed complaints with the Legislative Ethics Commission which indicated they’d also registered complaints with the LRC. Their complaints indicated they were unsatisfied with how Sherman and others responded to their charges.

A third woman, Gloria Morgan, subsequently filed a third complaint against Arnold with the ethics commission, also charging her complaints weren’t taken seriously by the LRC staff.

Thomas Clay, an attorney who represents Cooper and Costner, has repeatedly hinted his clients may file suit in Franklin Circuit Court over the failure of Sherman and the LRC to protect them in their workplaces. He raised the possibility that information related to the investigation of their complaints might have been among the documents shredded by Sherman over the weekend.

Sherman’s resignation letter said he has been “contemplating the appropriate time for my retirement” for some time and might have done so earlier “except for my desire to follow through with supervision and support of a staff investigation of work-related harassment complaints.”

In his letter of resignation, Sherman called the internal investigation of the sexual harassment complaints “thorough and strenuous” and the complaints “were addressed promptly, fully examined, and protective measures implemented.”

Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at

Text Only
State News
  • Bill Clinton will stump for Grimes in eastern Kentucky

    Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    Former President Bill Clinton will join Grimes on Aug. 6 for a campaign rally in eastern Kentucky, according to a campaign official who would provide no further details.

    July 26, 2014

  • 7-1 Warren-Grimes 1.jpg Warren blasts McConnell on economic issues

    Elizabeth Warren said here Sunday that Kentucky voters have a simple choice this fall in the nation’s most important election.
    They can re-elect Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who the Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Senator said represents the interests of the wealthy and says “no, no, no” to measures to assist the middle class.

    June 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Healthcare signup in state extended

    While the national health exchange established by the Affordable Care Act — known to some as Obamacare — suffered glitches, crashes and delays, the Kentucky-run exchange, Kynect, often was cited as a national model.
    Nevertheless, those in Kentucky who didn’t sign up before the March 31 deadline will have a second chance to enroll.

    April 3, 2014

  • House sends $20.3 million budget to Senate

    It took four hours and it won’t last long in its present form when it reaches the Republican-controlled state Senate, but the House passed a $20.3 billion, two-year budget late Thursday on largely, but not entirely, party lines.

    March 13, 2014

  • Right-to-work bill dies in House panel

    The sponsor of a right-to-work law in Kentucky knew it had no chance of passing a House committee Thursday.

    March 13, 2014

  • Feds deny giving OK to selenium standards

    When lawmakers wrestled last year with new standards for releasing selenium into streams by coal mines and industry, they were assured by state officials the proposals were based on sound science and approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.

    March 7, 2014

  • Senate panel OKs trial use of cannabis oil

    Rita Wooten and her husband Ricky face an excruciating choice: watch their 4-year-old son suffer from repeated seizures — or violate the law in order to help him.

    February 26, 2014

  • Two honored for work with sexually abused

    It’s Erica Brown Myers’ job to help those who have been victimized by sexual abuse. But helping others can take a toll on the helper as well as the victim.

    February 26, 2014

  • Paul asks Senate for help in 2016 quandary

    Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul last week asked Republican state senators to try to repeal a Kentucky law that bars anyone from appearing on the same ballot for more than one office.

    February 24, 2014

  • Republican party split on display in Cave City

    Splits in the Kentucky Republican Party were subtly on display here Saturday evening – if you knew what to watch.

    Around 400 gathered at the Cave City Convention Center for the annual Barren County Lincoln Day Dinner but this one was different from past dinners.

    February 24, 2014

AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should Madison County’s three local governing bodies ban smoking in indoor public places?

     View Results