Allegations of sexual harassment have cost another politician his job.
According to The Hill, North Dakota’s GOP-led House of Representatives moved this week to kick out one of its own Republican members, state Rep. Luke Simons.
Report details multiple allegations
By a margin of 69–25, lawmakers voted to expel Simons following multiple claims of inappropriate behavior.
The allegations were first made public last month, leading to the body’s Legislative Council releasing a 14-page report detailing the accusations last week.
That report included the claims of one female staff member that Simons gave her a shoulder rub during a committee meeting without her consent. Another female staff member accused him of delivering a stained piece of paper to her, instructing her to “lick and sniff” it.
These accusations came following an incident at the state capitol earlier this year involving Simons and two female Democratic lawmakers. According to reports, the Republican was waiting for his food when the two Democrats asked him to put on his facemask, allegedly sparking an expletive-laden response from Simons.
As a result of the allegations against him, Simons became the first lawmaker removed from North Dakota’s state legislature in its history.
“No trial and no evidence”
For his part, Simons claimed that his accusers were “twisting his words,” using the incident to warn others in public office that they could face a similar fate.
“I could make any accusation against any of you,” Simons claimed, according to U.S. News & World Report. “Under this circumstance we are under, you’re guilty.”
He took to Facebook following the vote to expel him, writing: “Well that’s it, no hearing, no trial and no evidence. Just based off of accusations that were made, I was expelled from the house and now I’m out of the legislature.”
Simons has yet to confirm whether he will challenge the vote in court, but his attorney, Lynn Boughey, issued a statement suggesting that he might take the matter to the North Dakota Supreme Court. First, the attorney said, he will need to confer with his client to determine how Simons wishes to proceed.
The development is just the latest among elected officials facing accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the subject of bipartisan calls for him to step down as he faces claims from multiple accusers of inappropriate behavior.