Roberts: Six women now say Don Shooter sexually harassed them

Thursday, 09 November 2017, 08:40:51 AM. When Me Too becomes Me Six, you know it's over. Arizona Rep. Don Shooter needs to go.

Laurie Roberts: When Me Too becomes Me Six, you know it's over. Rep. Shooter needs to go.

RIP Don Shooter. Your political career just died.

Cause of death, the "Me Too" movement sparked by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

In Shooter's case, it's now up to Me Too times six.

On Tuesday evening, Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita accused the powerful chairman of the state House Appropriations Committee of sexual harassment.

By Wednesday afternoon, six women were telling tales about experiences with Shooter that ranged from crass to creepy. 

 

Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, told KTVK’s Dennis Welch that Shooter, R-Yuma, made comments about her chest and repeatedly came on to her despite her telling him to cut it out. At a work conference, she says he knocked on her door with a six-pack of beer but she didn't answer. In 2011, she says he told her that he was in love with her.

“He tells me that he loves me and asks if there’s an opportunity for us to be together in the future,” she wrote in a memo documenting the June 2011 incident.

Ugenti-Rita says she notified House leadership but nothing was done about it.

Shooter vehemently denied the allegations, calling Ugenti-Rita a liar, accusing her of having an affair with a House staffer and pointing out that she once made a joke about masturbation during a public hearing.

Cue the dam break.

By Wednesday afternoon, the ArizonaCapitol Times’ Rachel Leingang had documented the stories of five other women’s encounters with Shooter, ranging from 2011 to 2017.

 

Democratic lobbyist Marilyn Rodriguez told Leingang that Shooter maneuvered her into going to dinner to discuss a bill in 2011 and during the meal put his hand on her knee.

Freshman Rep. Athena Salman, D-Tempe, said she was introduced to Shooter during the first week of this year’s session. Shooter’s response, she said, was: “You’ll be a nice view to look at.”

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old intern, Kendra Penningroth, told Leingang that 65-year-old Shooter wrapped her in a hug and ran his hands down her back during a Best of the Capitol awards ceremony earlier this year.

“It wasn’t like a colleague, side hug,” she told Leingang. “It was like a bear hug. He pushed my face into his chest, which was weird … I had never met him before. Ever.”

 

Leingang also documented the story of a city employee who described a similar bear hug at a 2015 League of Arizona Cities and Towns conference, with the always-welcome addition of a butt grab.

Because what woman doesn’t want a guy like Shooter to feel up her back side? (Answer: none of us do, Don, with the possible exception of your wife of 41 years.)

Meanwhile, lobbyist Geoff Esposito recounted an incident during this year’s legislative session in which Shooter made inappropriate sexual comments to two female lobbyists. One of the lobbyists, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, said the comments were extreme and sexual in nature.

Esposito told Leingang he tried to intervene after getting an SOS text from one of the women but that Shooter pushed him out of the way, saying “I’m working on something here, buddy.”

Yep, the end of your political career.

 

 

 

 

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