Utah Senate president launches independent investigation into sexual harassment claims
Aug 5, 2022, 9:16 AM | Updated: 6:44 pm
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate will launch an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment filed against Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City.
A former intern submitted a complaint about Davis’ behavior, alleging that he had sexually harassed her.
“Wednesday evening, I learned about the allegations concerning Sen. Davis from an online post made by a former intern,” said Senate President J. Stuart Adams. “The entire Senate and I take these comments seriously. After reviewing recommendations from the legislative general counsel and human resource administrator, I have directed an independent investigation be initiated to evaluate these allegations.
“The Senate condemns and does not tolerate workplace harassment. It has no place in any political, professional or personal setting.”
In that online post, the former intern alleged Davis said she had dirt on her butt after filming some video and taking photos at Davis’ home. The intern said they attempted to wipe the dirt off and Davis allegedly offered to wipe it off with a small towel. After the intern said no, Davis allegedly began wiping off her butt with the towel.
“The disgust that I feel is because this is a long-standing senator in a position of power,” said Eva Lopez, Salt Lake County Democratic Party Chair. “It’s highly grotesque.”
The Senate minority leadership – Sen. Karen Mayne, Sen. Luz Escamilla and Sen. Jani Iwamoto – issued the following statement:
“We take the recent allegations against Sen. Davis very seriously and do not tolerate sexual harassment or any form of inappropriate conduct in the workplace. We support an independent investigation to move forward immediately and will examine all options. Sexual harassment is wholly unacceptable, and while no complaint has been filed, we have confidence in the Legislature’s workplace discrimination and harassment policies and process to support employees and interns.”
Davis has been temporarily suspended from all Salt Lake County Democratic Party events, committees and any party-related activity due to allegations.
“That’s what I felt was appropriate in this moment in time,” Lopez said, referring to Davis’ temporary suspension, “as well as calling on my judicial committee to invite other people that are potential victims out there, that if they can bring forward any allegations, we’ll make sure that there’s a thorough investigation done.”
Davis has been serving in Salt Lake City’s District 3 since 1999. His current term ends Jan. 1, 2023, and he lost in the Democratic primary on June 28.