Real reason for many political resignations can take weeks to uncover

Associated Press


By now, citizens are familiar with the drill: Politician resigns to “spend more time with family,” a cryptic apology or plea for privacy ensues, and, only days or weeks later do journalists unearth the documents, images or private posts that tell the full story.

This is what happened with a sexual-harassment case last year against state Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican, who left office after legislative investigators found that he had engaged in inappropriate conversations and physical contact with a female state worker.

Sexual-misconduct allegations against state Rep. Wes Goodman, a Cardington Republican, also emerged in a spotty fashion after his resignation after House leaders discovered he’d engaged in a sexual encounter in his state office.

No centralized place existed for journalists to go to determine what they’d done. Such complaints can be lodged or investigated in half a dozen places, including by an employer, a law-enforcement agency or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

A 50-state review by The Associated Press found that the majority of state legislative chambers have no publicly available records of any sexual-misconduct claims over the past decade. Those with no information to provide either said no complaints were made, no tally was kept or that they didn’t legally have to disclose the information.

In Ohio, certain records on the Hite and Goodman cases were released in response to public-records requests submitted by the AP and others.

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