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More Women Come Forward With Claims Of Sexual Harassment At Arizona Capitol

Arizona State Capitol
Lauren Loftus/KJZZ
/
file | staff
The Arizona State Capitol.

More allegations of sexual harassment within the Arizona Legislature are coming out — and there are more allegations against state Rep. Don Shooter.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita named Shooter and gave specific examples of inappropriate behavior. Other lawmakers have also made accusations, including Rep. Athena Salman. But she thinks there’s a bigger issue, as well.

"Just being a freshman, I didn't think the training on sexual harassment in the orientation was very good," Salman said.

KJZZ did reach out to Shooter — his legislative office referred us to his attorney, who issued the following statement on Shooter's behalf: “I requested an investigation by the House which is now underway. Therefore I am unable to comment further except to provide my full support and cooperation.”

Rep. Wenona Benally on Thursday morning said that she added her name to the growing list of women who’ve come forward with claims. House Majority Whip Kelly Townsend said she’s witnessed sexual harassment against Ugenti-Rita but not by Shooter. She also said she’s been on the receiving end of unwanted sexual advances, intimidating behavior and retaliation.

Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services brought us up to speed on the growing scandal, and Townsend talked about her experiences.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.