PHOENIX, Ariz. - State representative Don Shooter is being accused of harassment by six women, including two legislators, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
The accusers that have come forward are Democratic lobbyist Marilyn Rodriguez, Rep. Athena Salman, a 19-year-old Arizona Capitol Times intern, a city employee who attended the League of Arizona Cities and Towns conference in Tucson in 2015, and two lobbyists who Shooter made sexual comments to at an education event in 2017.
Based on an article by Arizona Capitol Times, the allegations against Shooter scope from sexually charged comments to unwanted touching. The women spoke out about the incidents after various news outlets broke out sexual harassment claims from several women against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita said in an exclusive interview with KTVK (Channel 3) that Shooter once asked about her chest when she was in her office and came uninvited to her room with beer at a work conference. She said she didn't answer the door.
Ugenti-Rita detailed an additional incident in June 2011 where he told her he was in love with her and said he wanted to have a relationship. She said she wrote a memo detailing the encounter and said she told Republican leadership, but nothing was done.
Ugenti-Rita first spoke about harassment at the Capitol in October, when she claimed she had been sexually harassed at the statehouse for years since she first took office in 2011.
Ugenti-Rita said she’s worried about retaliation now that she’s identified Shooter.
Shooter did issue a statement to KTVK saying, "I am really sorry that I have apparently said things that were insensitive and not taken well. Upsetting anybody is the last thing I ever intend to do. I want to talk with Michelle. I will do better."
Shooter, 65, is from Yuma, Ariz. and represents the area at the state Capitol.
House Speaker J.D. Mesnard (R-17) announced that the House of Representatives has launched multiple investigations into reports of sexual harassment at the Legislature.
“All allegations of sexual harassment will be taken seriously in the House,” said Speaker Mesnard. “The House has a formal policy in place to investigate and remedy reports of sexual harassment, and we will be utilizing that process. A bipartisan team of investigators will be conducting thorough reviews of all allegations made and will expand their investigations if more information is gathered.”
“Those of us in government should be held to the highest standard, and any form of harassment will not be tolerated. I encourage anyone – whether it be legislators, staff, lobbyists, or others – with allegations of sexual harassment at the Legislature to work with investigators.”
House Democratic Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix (District 27), released the following statement Wednesday morning in response to recent reported allegations by Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita of sexual harassment against House Appropriations Chairman Don Shooter:
“These allegations are very serious. We are calling on the Speaker and House Leadership to convene a bi-partisan investigation team that will thoroughly investigate these allegations, as well as hear the concerns of other people about their own experiences with Rep. Shooter. The investigation must allow everyone impacted to feel comfortable and safe in coming forward with information without fear of reprisal. We look forward to participating in that process and in working with the Speaker on continuing to create a safe and productive workplace.”
Torunn Sinclair, the Arizona Republican Party communications director said, "These are serious allegations, and we applaud Speaker Mesnard for calling for a full investigation. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated by the Arizona Republican Party."