LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan lawmaker was stripped of a committee chairmanship and ordered to undergo training Thursday after the state Senate concluded allegations of sexual harassment lodged by several women, including a legislator, were credible.
Republican Sen. Peter Lucido of Macomb County’s Shelby Township lost his position leading the Senate Advice and Consent Committee. He will continue to chair another panel and co-chair a joint Senate-House committee.
The Senate had opened an investigation in January after a young reporter, Allison Donahue of Michigan Advance, complained that Lucido made a sexist comment to her before a group of high school boys. Sen. Mallory McMorrow then accused him of sexually harassing her at a Capitol orientation. Melissa Osborn, who works for the Michigan Credit Union League, made similar allegations.
“We take accusations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace seriously,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican. “It is my sincere hope that this experience will serve as motivation for us all to do better and be better in our personal interactions and our public discourse.”
Lucido declined to comment.
The Senate Business Office released a summary of the probe that was conducted by two outside lawyers and the Senate’s human resources manager, who also is the nonpartisan legal counsel. They interviewed 25 people and reviewed evidence such as text messages, video footage, diagrams and audio recordings.
The investigators’ report and findings were kept confidential. The summary said while they could not “unequivocally” substantiate the publicized complaints, they found all of the accusers “credible” and concluded it was “more likely than not” that each incident occurred as reported.
Lucido’s conduct “demonstrates an unfortunate pattern of behavior” that requires “little to no interpretation to be understood as inappropriate workplace behavior,” the summary said.
McMorrow, a Royal Oak Democrat, said she appreciated that investigators were thorough and took the investigation seriously.
“It was validating to learn that the report found Allison, myself and Melissa all credible,” she said. “I think that matters because my biggest hope was that by coming forward would encourage others to do so, especially those who don’t have the type of protection that I do as a member.”
Shirkey said a bipartisan workgroup will be formed to review the Senate’s sexual harassment policies. Asked if she felt the punishment was appropriate, McMorrow said it depends on whether Lucido — who she said has not apologized — changes his behavior.