Locals react to state government sexual harassment complaint secrecy
WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Wisconsin legislative leaders said sexual harassment complaints against them should be kept secret, but do area taxpayers agree?
Lawmakers said they are keeping the reports filed against them hidden to protect the privacy of victims, but their intentions are being questioned.
"They can still redact people's names for their protection but they can still let that information out for the people," said Holly Narlock in Wausau.
The majority of people in our area that we spoke with think the legislature's lack of transparency isn't right or fair.
"I just find that government should be transparent and that how they're going about this right now is absolutely wrong and they should be letting the people know," Narlock said.
Some had trouble choosing a side.
Sexual harassment allegations emerged last week in the Capitol.
In published accounts, although no formal complaints, women have accused Rep. Josh Zepnick of sexual misconduct. The women said he tried to kiss them at a candidate party and democratic convention.
Newsline 9 called lawmakers and Capitol staffers but they either couldn't talk or didn't call us back. However, we did receive written statements.
"Rep. Zepnick's behavior was reprehensible and conduct that's unacceptable," said the statement from the Assembly Republican Leadership Team. "Rep. Zepnick has the responsibility to reflect on whether he can effectively represent his district in light of these circumstances."
Zepnick said he doesn't remember the incidents and apologized.
In another development today, the Wisconsin Senate Chief Clerk said his office has received two sexual harassment complaints over the last decade.