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Posts tagged: sexual harassment

Documents describe McGee’s conduct in sexual harassment case

Documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal the most detail to date about the conduct of former state Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, in the sexual harassment case that led to his resignation from the Senate. They include descriptions of McGee engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior in his Capitol office and pressing a young female staffer for sex. Click below for the full report from AP reporter John Miller. McGee resigned from office rather than face a full ethics inquiry; the case also was referred to law enforcement, and he served jail time after a conviction for disturbing the peace of a person, a misdemeanor. McGee apologized in court at his sentencing hearing on Aug. 21.

In court, new details emerge about downfall of once-rising GOP star in Senate

During former Sen. John McGee's sentencing hearing today, new details emerged on the sexual harassment allegations that led to McGee's resignation from the Idaho Senate. Asked what happened, McGee told 4th District Magistrate Judge James Cawthon, “Your honor, on Feb. 7, I acted inappropriately and I used language that I should not have used, and I conducted myself in a way, your honor, that was offensive, and I'm guilty of this offense.” The charge against McGee was disturbing the peace of a person.

But Ada County deputy prosecutor Jean Fisher said it went beyond that. The victim was a 25-year-old woman who worked for the Senate in 2011, then returned for the 2012 session. “The job for her, as you can imagine, was very exciting, a unique opportunity,” Fisher said. “It was a great honor for her.” But when the woman returned for the 2012 session, she found McGee, who in the interim had been convicted of DUI in a bizarre Father's Day incident, “mercurial,” subject to “mood swings,” and “acting sexually inappropriately around her.” At one point, Fisher told the court, McGee “called her into his office, locked the door and demanded that she engage in graphic sexual conduct.” The woman escaped. She went home that day and told her mother.

“Co-workers noted her declining demeanor and asked what was wrong,” Fisher said. The victim didn't want to report McGee. “She believed that her job was on the line,” Fisher said. “She and her friend attempted to isolate the victim from Sen. McGee,” in part by moving other workers into the workplace. But, Fisher said, “The senator isolated her again and repeated the barrage of disturbing and offensive sexual innuendo.” At that point, the friend reported the situation to a supervisor, and an investigation was launched, leading eventually to a criminal charge against McGee of misdemeanor disturbing the peace.

Fisher said the victim just wants the whole thing over. “She is so ready to move on and be done with this process that has been a horrible disruption in her life,” she told the court.

Scott McKay, attorney for McGee, said his client disputes some of Fisher's allegations. “He admits that on Feb. 7 he committed the crime of disturbing the peace,” McKay told the court.

McGee made this statement to the court: “Your honor, I accept responsibility for my actions.” Then he paused before continuing. “Serving in the Idaho Senate has been a great privilege, but with that privilege comes responsibility, and over the last year I did not live up to that privilege. And I'm sorry for that. I apologize.”

Judge sends former Sen. McGee directly to jail, revokes withheld judgment

An Ada County judge today sent former Idaho Sen. John McGee straight to jail, revoking his withheld judgment for a 2011 DUI and imposing another six-month jail term for a disturbing the peace charge related to allegations that McGee sexually harassed a Senate staffer. Magistrate Judge James Cawthon  declined to follow a plea agreement worked out between prosecutors and McGee's attorney that would have required McGee to serve just five days of jail time; instead, McGee, 39, must serve 90 days, the first half of that with no option for work-release or community service.

When McGee's attorney, Scott McKay, asked the judge if his client could have seven days to say goodbye to his family and turn himself in to serve the sentence, the judge responded, “The court will order the execution of the sentence at this time.” McGee was taken into custody at the close of his sentencing hearing. His wife, Hanna, who along with his parents, brother and church pastor accompanied McGee to the hearing, left the courtroom in tears.

Cawthon also sentenced McGee to three years of supervised probation, counseling, restitution and court costs. “What the court's going to impose here I think sends a message in terms of general deterrence,” Cawthon told McGee. “I hope it reflects … the serious nature of the offense.”

McGee was on probation for a 2011 DUI conviction - in which he received a withheld judgment and more serious charges of stealing and damaging a vehicle were dismissed - when he allegedly sexually harassed a 25-year-old female Senate staffer in February. After an investigation, a criminal charge, a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace, was filed against McGee, along with a charge of violating his probation. “This isn't just disturbing the peace,” the judge told him today. “You weren't playing music too loud. … Whatever this is, it's sexual in nature.” He said, “I don't know if you just lost your moral compass because of the positions you had.” He called it “amazing” that McGee would risk his marriage, his family and his career a second time while still on probation for the first crime.

He also said he sentenced McGee on the DUI just as he would any other first-time DUI offender. But he said, “This new offense happened … in your role as an Idaho state senator. It happened at the Capitol.” He said he was treating McGee like any other public servant who “misbehaves to the level of committing criminal offenses in the course of their public service.”

Prosecutors recommending five days jail, court costs, counseling for McGee

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Authorities are recommending that former Republican Sen. John McGee serve five days in jail, pay $500 in court costs and undergo private counseling in exchange for pleading guilty to disturbing the peace. According to court documents filed by McGee's attorney, both sides are also recommending McGee pay $960 in restitution and attend classes about having healthy relationships and setting appropriate boundaries. The court documents say McGee intends to plead guilty Tuesday to the charge, which is linked to sexual harassment allegations that resulted in his February departure from the Idaho Legislature. At the time of the sexual misconduct investigation, McGee was on probation following a 2011 drunken driving conviction. McGee is also expected to plead guilty to violating the terms of his probation during the hearing Tuesday.

Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner.

Former Sen. McGee to be sentenced tomorrow in 4th District court

Former Idaho Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, is up for sentencing tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. in 4th District Court in Ada County; McGee is facing sentencing for a charge of disturbing the peace on Feb. 7, 2012, related to charges that he sexually harassed a Senate staffer; and violating his probation in connection with the same allegation. At the time, McGee was on probation for driving under the influence in June of 2011, for which he received a withheld judgment. An additional charge of driving/operating a vehicle without the owner's consent and causing more than $1,000 damage in the June 2011 incident was dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea on the DUI.

Court records show that McGee has completed 24 hours of community service; was fined $947; wrote a letter of apology to the victims in the driving case in July of 2011; was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation; and was assigned 24 hours of alcohol/DUI education class. He also was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 175 suspended and received work release.

McGee, the former Republican caucus chairman, resigned from the Senate after the sexual harassment allegation surfaced. Prosecutors told 4th District Magistrate Judge James Cawthon in June that at the Aug. 21 sentencing, McGee will plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and probation violation.

Ex-Sen. McGee quits job after latest charges

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Former Republican state Sen. John McGee quit his Idaho hospital job Friday after being charged with misdemeanor crimes linked to sexual harassment allegations. West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell confirmed that McGee had resigned as marketing director and spokesman, a role in which he was often the public face of the facility. The hospital said the departure of McGee, 39, will help avoid distractions linked to his unfolding legal travails. Click below for more.

McGee to plead guilty to new charges

Former Idaho Sen. John McGee will plead guilty in August to new charges of disturbing the peace and violating probation that are connected to a sexual harassment investigation, the Idaho Statesman reported this afternoon, citing court documents. The newspaper reported that in February, McGee had become “sexually provocative” toward a female Senate staffer, who first told only her mother what had occurred, but later told other employees after they noticed she was “unhappy, tearful and crying often.” You can read the Statesman's full report here.

McGee, R-Caldwell, who was Senate majority caucus chairman, resigned from the Senate Feb. 22 rather than face an ethics probe over the harassment allegations. The criminal charges, both misdemeanors, were announced yesterday after a months-long investigation.

McGee arrested, released on bond

Former Idaho Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, was arrested last night on misdemeanor charges of disturbing the peace and violating his probation from his 2011 DUI conviction; McGee turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued, and then was released on bond, $1,000 for each charge. He's due to appear in court on Aug. 21 on the charges. The disturbing the peace charge is the outcome of a months-long investigation into allegations that McGee sexually harassed a female Senate staffer; he resigned from the Senate on Feb. 22 rather than face an ethics probe over the charges. The complaint against McGee on that charge says he “used profane and offensive language and/or offensive conduct” in the presence of an unidentified person on Feb. 7. “The new charge is based on criminal conduct that occurred in the former senator's office during the 2012 legislative session,” Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower said in a release. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.

Arrest warrant issued for former Sen. John McGee

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Arrest warrants for former Idaho Republican state Sen. John McGee were issued after prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor disturbing the peace and violating probation terms for a 2011 DUI conviction. The warrants were issued Tuesday in 4th District Court against McGee, who resigned from the Idaho Senate in February amid allegations that he sexually harassed an employee. McGee didn't return a phone call Tuesday. According to the complaint, McGee is charged with disturbing the peace on Feb. 7. Prosecutors say he used profane and offensive language and/or offensive conduct in the presence of an unidentified victim during the 2012 Legislature. He's also charged violating his misdemeanor DUI probation. He was convicted last year after a drunken Father's Day incident in which he drove a stranger's car pulling a trailer, jacknifing it in a nearby yard. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller; you can read the Ada County Prosecutor's office news release here.

McGee case still pending at Ada prosecutor’s office, could take ‘a while’

From the “whatever happened to” department of Eye on Boise, today we bring you: Whatever happened to the investigation into Sen. John McGee? And the answer is: It's still pending. McGee, R-Caldwell, the former Senate majority caucus chairman, resigned from the Idaho Senate on Feb. 22 amid charges of sexual harassment of a female Senate aide; the Idaho State Police investigated, and turned the case over to Ada County Prosecutor Greg Bower on April 13, who could decide to file criminal charges.

Asked today where the case stands, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Roger Bourne said, “It's still under advisement, we're still looking into it.” Asked if it's normal for such a case to take this long, Bourne said, “It's not like we have cases like this all the time that we have a history on, that I can tell you whether it's normal or not. We're looking into a number of things, and it's going to take us a while.” He added, “There's a number of variables, and we're looking at several things.”

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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