Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kent Williams: Even Creepier Than We Thought?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 11:13 AM

click to enlarge susan_20lynn.jpg
Over at Post Politics, you can read the complete statement Rep. Susan Lynn planned to give at this week's sham meeting of the House Ethics Committee. The statement, her fullest accounting yet of what happened in the legislative parking garage two years ago and afterward, paints House Speaker Kent Williams as a real snake, even creepier than we had been led to believe previously--and that's saying a lot. It raises more questions about the committee's "sweep-it-under-the-rug" dismissal of Rep. Brian Kelsey's ethics complaint.

According to Lynn, Williams made his "very inappropriate" remarks to her three times "as though I should be flattered by his high regard." When they met with GOP leader Jason Mumpower, Williams didn't apologize at first. Instead, Lynn says, he insisted he was sincere when he said he'd give a week's pay to see her naked. Charming, eh?

"This upset me and I expressed to Leader Mumpower that this was not really an apology," Lynn says. "Leader Mumpower stated to the freshman legislator that this was upsetting me and that he should stop repeating his sincerity over his original 'offer.'"

Her story is a little different than the straightforward "apology offered, apology accepted" rendition now given by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to justify the ethics committee's actions yesterday.

"Three days later," Lynn goes on, "the same freshman legislator interrupted my conversation with another member by wrapping his arm around my neck and shoulders and stating 'have a nice weekend' while coming in very close to my face with a great big  smile."

"Quite upset," Lynn phoned Mumpower and demanded that he tell Williams "to not touch me, not speak to me, and not look at me."

Lynn's statement contains more spicy details. She contradicts her repeated claims that she never wanted her complaints about Williams to become public. But Republican leaders don't come off like the vengeful politicos in the Democrats' version of the story. In fact, Lynn says they kept her from denouncing Williams from the House floor on the day he was elected speaker.

As he was nominated then, Lynn recalls, "[M]any of us were very angry but I maybe more so. Sitting with my husband and our newly married daughter who both knew about the events of two years earlier, I struggled greatly with the grave injustice."

She says she twice asked Jason Mumpower and Glen Casada to let her speak out. Presumably, she wanted to call out Williams for sexual harassment.

"Let me object--he is not honorable!" she told her party leaders.

"Even though they were witnessing all of their hard work being defeated, they both said, 'no, no, you will hurt yourself.' My heart broke ..."

Two days later, during the House's mandatory ethics training session, Lynn asked her leadership if she could raise a question about sexual harassment. "I did realize that this question could raise a flag with press ... All of them told me it was not worth it to risk myself like that. I took their advice."

As it turned out, according to Lynn, reporters uncovered the secret sexual harassment memo through no help from her. She says she didn't even know the memo existed. (Post Politics Adam Kleinheider made an open records request for it.)

"I curiously watched the news to see what the Speaker would say" about the charges, Lynn says. "I expected him to state that it happened, he apologized and that as far as he knew it was over. And truly, if he had said that it would have been over. What a tremendous shock to hear him deny the events and the apology. Essentially, he is calling me and everyone else that witnessed his deeds a liar."

"... I think the issue is the Speaker's denial that he said anything wrong and that he apologized."

All too predictably, yesterday's meeting adds another wrong to this sordid little tale. A legislative ethics committee run by Republican and Democratic leaders once again showed itself to be mainly interested in covering the collective ass.

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