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Eye On Boise

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.

APNewsBreak: Records: McGee sought sex in Capitol
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former Republican state Sen. John McGee was accused of propositioning a female aide for sex and making a series of other unwanted advances inside his Idaho Capitol office before he resigned earlier this year, records obtained Wednesday show.

The police documents provided to The Associated Press contain the most details to date about the accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior made by the woman to State Police detectives about the February encounters.

In September, McGee completed a 39-day stint in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor disturbing the peace.

The woman, who worked for the 39-year-old former Senate majority caucus chairman from Caldwell, told investigators that he first propositioned her on Feb. 7 after locking the door to his fourth-floor Capitol offices.

When she refused and left, he told her "'this never happened,'" according to the police report.

However, she told investigators that the next week he suggested she perform oral sex on him, and during another encounter grabbed her buttocks.

On Feb. 15, she said, McGee again called her into his office, locked the door and asked her to take her shirt off. She told detectives that she left the room while he was masturbating.

Neither McGee nor his lawyer Scott McKay returned calls Wednesday seeking comment.

McGee refused to be interviewed by Idaho State Police detectives to give his version of the events.

The Associated Press is not naming the woman because of the sexual nature of the allegations.

Jean Fisher, the Ada County deputy prosecutor who handled the sexual harassment allegations, said her office opted for the misdemeanor disturbing the peace charge against McGee for a variety of reasons.

For one, Idaho doesn't have a criminal sexual harassment law.

And the woman, who lived in relative close proximity to McGee's home in Caldwell at the time, wanted to avoid the public scrutiny that might accompany a prosecution for a felony assault with intent to rape, Fisher said.

"She wanted accountability, she wanted something to happen, but she absolutely did not want a public trial" where she would have to testify, Fisher said.

Even if her office pursued a misdemeanor indecent exposure count, Fisher added, a conviction carried the same penalty as disturbing the peace.

McGee's sudden resignation from the Idaho Senate on Feb. 22 came after a tumultuous six-month period that began with his Father's Day 2011 arrest for drunken driving and taking a sport-utility vehicle that didn't belong to him.

He pleaded guilty to DUI that July. The felony car theft-related charge was dropped.

McGee is currently completing a 44-day community service sentence linked to violating his DUI probation.

Two days after the woman's Feb. 15 encounter with McGee, a co-worker who had spoken to her about the situation went to Jennifer Novak, secretary of the Idaho Senate.

Novak later called the aide into her office and asked about the situation, detectives wrote.

"She told Ms. Novak that she was not certain that she was ready to make a disclosure," detectives wrote. "At the end of the day, Ms. Novak called her down to her office and told her that legally she had a job to protect her."

On her own, Novak had informed the Senate's two top GOP leaders, Pro Tem Brent Hill of Rexburg and Majority Leader Bart Davis of Idaho Falls, of the situation.

After that, the woman went to Hill's Capitol office.

"They were waiting for her," detectives wrote. "She told them everything."

Hill, who was interviewed by detectives in April, told the AP on Wednesday that his first priority was to tackle the matter quickly. He gave McGee an ultimatum: Either quit the Senate or face a full ethics inquiry. McGee quit.

Davis, an attorney, was also interviewed by investigators who wanted to know if he believed the woman.

He found her "not be misleading when she presented her allegations," detectives wrote.

Contacted Wednesday, Davis said he spoke with McGee recently, though not about the allegations. He said he's not in a position to pass judgment on his former colleague.

"All I would be doing would be guessing or speculating," he said. "Those two know what happened. I do not."



A female aide who accused Republican Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, of sexual harassment in the Idaho Capitol told detectives she was first propositioned for sex and subjected to other unwanted sexual advances in early February. Here's a timeline of her claims as made to State Police:

—Feb. 7: The female aide says McGee asked her to stay late then called her into his office. After locking the door, he made the first of several sexual advances, she says, before she left and he told her, "'this never happened.'"

—Feb. 8: The woman told detectives that when she arrived at work, McGee pulled her into his office and asked if she was OK. "She told him that 'it made her uncomfortable and that it was not OK,'" detectives wrote.

—On or before Feb. 10: The woman told detectives that McGee called her into his office and asked her to come behind his computer to view an e-mail. "She did not see any e-mail on his computer," detectives wrote. "He told her he fantasized about her."

— Feb. 15: The woman told detectives that McGee called her into his office and locked the door again. He made another advance and masturbated before she left, she told detectives.

— Feb. 20: Senate Secretary Jennifer Novak summoned the woman into her office and asked what was going on. By the end of the day, Novak had informed Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill and Majority Leader Bart Davis of the allegations, detectives write.

— Feb. 22: Faced with the possibility of the first Idaho Senate ethics committee investigation since 2005, McGee resigned.

Neither McGee nor his lawyer Scott McKay returned calls Wednesday seeking comment.

McGee refused to be interviewed by Idaho State Police detectives to give his version of the events.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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