Senate leaders not interested in investigating sexual harassment allegation against Ugenti-Rita

By Julia Shumway | Arizona Capitol Times

Senate Democrats on Wednesday evening said they hoped Senate President Karen Fann would investigate allegations that Ugenti-Rita, a Scottsdale Republican, sexually harassed a lobbyist in 2016 and threatened the woman in 2018. But Fann and Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray dismissed calls for an investigation in separate interviews Thursday, and rank-and-file Senate Republicans largely declined to comment. And Gray, R-Sun City, said Democrats can file a complaint if they want. But he warned Democrats to be careful because one of their own members, whom he declined to name, also could be investigated.

 “If they want to open up all the cans of worms from years past, we can open up all the cans of worms,” Gray said. “This was years ago. It was in the other chamber. Both people have been re-elected.”

In both a statement sent early Thursday morning and comments to reporters on the floor of the Senate this afternoon, Fann, R-Prescott, said the Senate would not comment on ongoing litigation. The Senate is not a party in either lawsuit filed by former Rep. Don Shooter, who alleges the House of Representatives inadequately investigated allegations the lobbyist made against Ugenti-Rita, then a House member.

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