CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Republican state senators on Tuesday called for the Democratic majority to take swift action against a member of the upper chamber who is the subject of a sexual harassment investigation.
Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson said Democrats have for years swept under the rug sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Sen. Mark Manendo of Las Vegas. Manendo denied claims of misconduct in a similar investigation that cleared him in 2003, and through an attorney denies wrongdoing amid the current review.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford recently directed the Legislature to conduct an independent investigation of the harassment claim, Senate Democratic caucus spokesman Peter Koltak has said.
He declined to provide specifics.
Senate Republicans asked that Ford remove Manendo from committees, disclose any allegations with redactions, and hold a public hearing on the issue.
“Enough is enough,” said Sen. Heidi Gansert, a Reno Republican.
Koltak said Republicans are politicizing a serious issue.
“Too often, women choose not to come forward with allegations of harassment because they fear being subjected to public humiliation just for speaking up,” Koltak said. “That is precisely why this investigation is in the hands of an independent investigator who can ensure that a thorough, fair investigation takes place.”
Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson said the Senate should provide due process by whatever means is required.
Democratic leadership removed Manendo from a chairmanship in 2003, when the Legislative Counsel Bureau found no concrete evidence of wrongdoing, according to then-Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins.
“Elected officials, while held to a higher standard, still have the same rights as everyone else,” Perkins said.
Manendo has served in the Legislature for 23 years and is chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. He’s known as an advocate for animals with expertise on transportation issues.