Arizona State Rep. Ugenti-Rita goes public with harassment allegations
PHOENIX — A longtime Arizona legislator went on social media to say she had endured sexual harassment from male coworkers early in her career.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale), posted her story on Facebook Thursday, saying she felt a “responsibility to address this matter,” after dozens of women said they had been harassed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
The movie hitmaker is being investigated after several name actresses began accusing him publicly of sexual misconduct.
Ugenti-Rita didn’t name the men she said made unwanted sexual advances and openly commented on her body and looks in 2011, her first year on the job at the State Capitol.
“As the behavior became more aggressive and brazen, I could no longer ignore what was happening because being at the capitol and interacting with some of my peers became uncomfortable and intimidating as I established myself in this new role.”
She said she told leadership what was happening to her and that while they were sympathetic, they felt their hands were tied.
Ugenti-Rita encouraged leaders in both chambers and other members to implement a formal process that helped harassment whistleblowers come forward.
This is Ugenti-Rita’s last year in the House; she has termed out but planned to run for Senate next year.
She has represented District 23 since 2013. Before that, she served District 8 continuously from 2011 to 2013.