Report: Some Sexual Harassment Allegations Against Arizona Rep. Don Shooter Credible

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 3:15pm
Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 9:55am
Don Shooter.
(Photo by Matthew Casey - KJZZ)
Arizona House Speaker J.D. Mesnard

Arizona Rep. Don Shooter is facing reprimands after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard announced Tuesday.

The investigation examined numerous allegations against Shooter and found several to be credible.

Shooter was found to have anonymously gifted a female legislator a bottle of tequila and referenced a romantic song.

He was also found to have made overtly sexual comments and gestures, reducing women to their genders, appearance and race when he had a position of political power over them – which was a pattern.

The report found that Shooter failed to believe his actions were inappropriate, and so did not understand them to be problematic.

Speaker J.D. Mesnard said he will ask lawmakers to formally censure Shooter and will remove him from all committee assignments.

“I believe there’s enough evidence in this report for us to make a value judgment over the next 48 hours and that’s what I’m encouraging my colleagues to do,” he said. “Over the course of this investigation, several deficiencies in House policy and processes have become apparent, and I’m taking steps to address those as well.”

Mesnard said he will move to expel Shooter if he acts inappropriately again.

The Arizona House of Representatives released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) today released the investigative report on sexual harassment allegations against Representatives Don Shooter (R-13) and Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23). Speaker Mesnard also announced several actions in response to the report and scheduled a press conference for 4:00 p.m. to discuss those actions

The report, which is attached, concluded that there is credible evidence that Representative Shooter violated the House of Representative’s policy against sexual harassment. The report did not find credible evidence that Representative Ugenti-Rita violated House policy.

Speaker Mesnard reacted to the report by outlining several remedial actions:

  • Speaker Mesnard is permanently removing Representative Shooter from all committee assignments effective immediately.
  • Speaker Mesnard will furthermore introduce a resolution on the House Floor censuring Representative Shooter for his behavior.
  • Speaker Mesnard will propose augmenting the House rules, which carry the force of law, to require a formal anti-harassment policy by which all Members must abide.
  • Speaker Mesnard will also propose adding a House rule requiring a formal behavioral code of conduct for all Members.
  • Speaker Mesnard will establish a bipartisan panel of Members to fully and transparently develop the behavioral code of conduct for House members.
  • Speaker Mesnard, in his capacity as Speaker, will develop a code of conduct that will apply to all House staff.
  • Speaker Mesnard will formalize a Human Resources Department for the House.
  • Speaker Mesnard will prohibit the consumption of alcohol on House premises.
  • Speaker Mesnard will hold a press conference this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1 to discuss the remedial actions he has taken.

Speaker Mesnard will hold a press conference this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 1 to discuss the remedial actions he has taken.

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