Ha­rass­ment

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS -

House rules on re­tal­i­a­tion against al­leged vic­tims who

re­port abuse by nam­ing the con­sul­tant in a Face­book post deny­ing the al­le­ga­tions. The re­port states that he had been warned not to take any ac­tions that could be seen as re­tal­ia­tory and

not to hin­der the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

While Toohil came for­ward and se­cured a three­year per­ma­nent pro­tec­tion from abuse or­der against Mic­carelli last month in which he ad­mit­ted no wrong­do­ing, the con­sul­tant never pub­licly re­vealed her iden­tity.

House Repub­li­can spokesman Steve Miskin said the lead­er­ship stands by its calls for Mic­carelli to re­sign, but he tech­ni­cally works for the peo­ple who elected him, not the House it­self. In or­der for any House ac­tion to take place, he said, there would need to be a res­o­lu­tion of­fered and a two-thirds ma­jor­ity of rep­re­sen­ta­tives would need to vote in fa­vor. No such mo­tion has yet emerged.

“The House hasn’t acted against Nick Mic­carelli be­cause it’s be­come in­creas­ingly ob­vi­ous to the vast ma­jor­ity of the mem­bers that the two ac­cusers’ al­le­ga­tions lack cred­i­bil­ity,” Mic­carelli spokesman Frank Keel said in a state­ment. “Nei­ther woman has

yet to pro­duce any ev­i­dence what­so­ever to sup­port their sto­ries. Why? Be­cause none ex­ists, that’s why.”

“Ob­vi­ously, the com­plaints were filed and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion en­sued, and the re­sults of the that in­ves­ti­ga­tion (were that) the in­ves­ti­ga­tors, as well as the lead­ers, felt that the com­plaints and the peo­ple who filed the com­plaints were cred­i­ble, thus it was re­ferred to the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice,” said Miskin. “From what I’ve seen – and ob­vi­ously I’m not 100 per­cent, I didn’t talk to ev­ery­one – but (there is) gen­eral sup­port for the lead­er­ship de­ci­sion.”

Mic­carelli, 35, an Iraq war vet­eran and five-term in­cum­bent, an­nounced last month that he would not seek re­elec­tion, but would not step down from of­fice for the re­main­der of his term.

By serv­ing un­til Nov. 30, Mic­carelli will hit a 10-year mark of leg­isla­tive ser­vice that would make him and his fam­ily el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive life­time tax­payer-funded health care ben­e­fits, as well as a

re­duced pen­sion from the State Em­ploy­ees’ Re­tire­ment Sys­tem.

Be­cause he with­drew af­ter a dead­line for can­di­dates to file nom­i­nat­ing pe­ti­tions, Repub­li­cans can only sup­port write-in can­di­dates for the po­si­tion in the May 15 pri­mary elec­tion. Dave White, Repub­li­can Party leader in the 162nd Dis­trict, said com­mit­tee mem­bers had en­dorsed for­mer county sher­iff Mary McFall Hop­per for a write-in cam­paign.

Krueger-Braneky said her bill has 62 co-spon­sors in­clud­ing the ma­jor­ity chair­man of the com­mit­tee, Rep. Rob Kauff­man, and is mod­eled on leg­is­la­tion that passed Con­gress in Fe­bru­ary with over­whelm­ing bi­par­ti­san sup­port.

The bill would for the first time clearly de­fine sex­ual ha­rass­ment in state law, in­stall a bi­cam­eral non­par­ti­san Of­fice of Com­pli­ance, re­quire elected of­fi­cials to re­im­burse tax­payer set­tle­ments for sex­ual ha­rass­ment and es­tab­lish stan­dard pro­ce­dures

to in­ves­ti­gate claims made within the Gen­eral As­sem­bly.

Krueger-Braneky said Thurs­day that such leg­is­la­tion is “ab­so­lutely” over­due, given the cli­mate in Har­ris­burg.

David­son also ref­er­enced her “#TimesUp” leg­is­la­tion dur­ing the hear­ing, which would ex­pand the au­thor­ity of the state Ethics Com­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate and take ac­tion on al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment per­pe­trated by elected of­fi­cials who can­not be fired.

“Work­place safety is not only en­sur­ing the struc­tural or op­er­a­tional as­pect of your work en­vi­ron­ment is safe, but in­cludes cre­at­ing a cul­ture where ev­ery em­ployee feels safe and com­fort­able go­ing to work,” she said. “We stand to­gether to say that the cul­ture of dis­crim­i­na­tion that in­cludes sex­ual ha­rass­ment in our work­ing en­vi­ron­ments will not be brushed aside, swept un­der the rug or tol­er­ated on any level, any longer.”

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