Sen. Gene Davis asked to resign by party leaders amid sexual harassment claims
Democratic party leaders are calling for Sen. Gene Davis to resign.
Driving the news: A former intern publicly accused the Salt Lake City Democrat of sexual harassment earlier this month.
The latest: In a statement on Friday, Thom DeSirant, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said party leaders and members asked Davis to step down from his position in the Utah Legislature.
- After Davis didn't resign, DeSirant said they voted to extend his suspension last week to include all party-related events while awaiting the outcome of a probe by the Utah Senate.
- DeSirant also requested the Senate share its findings with the party.
- Davis did not respond to Axios' request for comment.
What they're saying: "We find ourselves faced with multiple credible allegations of misconduct by Senator Davis and must err in favor of the safety and well-being of our members," DeSirant said.
- He also added the party was reviewing its training for staff and volunteers about steps to take when a complaint is received.
Context: On Aug. 3, Sonia Weglinski, who worked as Davis' legislative intern and later as a campaign staffer earlier this year, alleged he invaded her personal boundaries, describing an incident where he wiped dirt off her buttocks against her will in a now-deleted Instagram post.
- Two days after Weglinski's social media post, Utah Senate President Stuart Adams announced he was launching an independent investigation into the claims.
The big picture: Her allegations against the longtime senator have prompted a growing coalition of women in politics to denounce sexual harassment in the workplace and call for aggressors to be held accountable.
Yes, but: A year before Weglinski came forward, Elizabeth Converse, a former legislative staffer, accused Davis in a Facebook post of inappropriately putting his arm around her waist and suggesting body shots.
- Weglinski said she believed her experience with Davis could have been prevented had the Utah Democratic Party held him accountable for previous sexual harassment claims.
- In a previous statement this month, the party claimed it couldn't conduct an investigation unless a formal complaint had been received.
Go deeper: Davis has served in the Utah Legislature since 1987 and joined the Senate in 1999.
- He lost his Democratic primary race against Nate Blouin in June.
- His term ends on Jan. 1, 2023.
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