Legislative employees now required to take sexual harassment training
All legislative employees will start the session with mandatory sexual harassment training.
This comes on the heels of the resignation of Democratic Rep. Dean Westlake of Kiana. Several women accused Westlake of sexual misconduct, saying he made unwelcome advances. He resigned in December, saying his ability to serve his constituents has been diminished.
The resignation came the same day KTVA reported that Westlake fathered a child with a minor. When he was a 28-year-old Kotzebue Police officer, Westlake had sexual relations with a minor, who had Westlake's daughter when she was just 16-years-old.
KTVA's Liz Raines spoke with her daughter, who said Westlake fled town and her mother decided not to press charges if he stayed in the picture.
The speaker of the house said the environment at the capitol is going to change.
“In the legislature, the House plans to be leaders on that subject. We've already gotten in place mandatory training and a policy that's going to be tightened up and perhaps statutory changes, if necessary,” said Speaker Bryce Edgemon.
Sexual harassment training for legislative staff starts next on Monday, January 8 and runs till the end of the month.
Session begins on January 16 but will have to start without a replacement for Westlake's Northwest Arctic area seat. The deadline for applications closed on January 4. Alaska Democrats will choose a nominating committee of no less than five people from across the district to review the applications and choose the people who will be invited to interview. They will forward three names to Governor Bill Walker, who will have nine days to choose the replacement.
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