'Women have had enough:' Westlake accuser calls out Alaska Dems
One of state Rep. Dean Westlake's accusers is challenging the Alaska Democratic Party to come clean on its knowledge of sexual offenses in his past.
Westlake, a Kiana Democrat, announced his resignation Friday amid explosive allegations that he fathered a child with a 16-year-old girl when he was 28, near his dates of employment as a Kotzebue police officer. His decision to step down also followed allegations of sexual misconduct by Westlake from women who worked in the Alaska State Legislature.
Olivia Garrett, who no longer works in the state Capitol, has come out publicly about two incidents in which she says Westlake made unwelcome advances towards her earlier this year. She says the Alaska Democratic Party's leadership was warned about Westlake's history of sexual violence, but still chose to support him as a candidate in the 2016 election.
Jay Parmley, the Alaska Democratic Party's executive director, said Friday that the party didn't bear any blame for its vetting of Westlake before it backed him last year against then-Rep. Ben Nageak. After a razor-thin vote, the race was ultimately decided in Westlake's favor by the Alaska Supreme Court.
"I don't think it was the responsibility of the Alaska Democratic Party to find this information, any more than it was the responsibility of Mr. Westlake or his opponents to bring this information out during the election," Parmley said.
In a live interview Saturday on KTVA, Garrett weighed in on the party's response to emerging information regarding Westlake.
"I think for way too long, way too many people and especially those in power have made far too many excuses for why it’s not a good time to be outing predators,” Garrett said. “'It’s not a good time to address sexual violence,' or you know, they’ll make excuses saying this person or that person has done a lot of good in other areas and we can’t afford to lose them – 'You know, we need their votes for this or that' – and I think women have had enough."
Westlake's daughter from the underage relationship, Joslynn Little, said Saturday that she appreciated seeing party officials being called to account for their role in his rise to power.
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