Don Shooter sues over his removal from House for sexual harassment

Feb 1, 2019, 4:04 AM
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX — Ousted Arizona lawmaker Don Shooter is suing the state, claiming his rights were violated when he was expelled from the House of Representatives last year over sexual harassment allegations.

Former state Attorney General Tom Horne filed the 41-page lawsuit Tuesday on Shooter’s behalf in Maricopa County Superior Court.

It says the former Yuma legislator’s “constitutional rights to freedom of speech, equal protection, and due process and rights to public records” were violated.

The state of Arizona, former Speaker of the House J.D. Mensard and Kirk Adams, former chief of staff for Gov. Doug Ducey, as well as the wives of Mesnard and Adams, were named as defendants.

The lawsuit claims Shooter was denied due process because, in part, the case regarding his expulsion wasn’t investigated by the House Ethics Committee before being put up for vote in the House.

The February 2018 vote to expel Shooter was nearly unanimous, with two other lawmakers joining Shooter in opposing the resolution. It was believed to be the first time a lawmaker was voted out of office since the start of the #MeToo movement.

Shooter’s misconduct was first made public when state Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a fellow Republican, accused him of behaving inappropriately toward her over a period of years. At least three other female lawmakers also claimed that Shooter harassed them.

The lawsuit lays out a wide-ranging scenario that attempts to show Shooter was the victim of a coordinated attack as retaliation against his efforts to expose corruption in the state’s contracting process.

Mesnard is singled out, in part, for supposedly changing House policies regarding sexual harassment without proper authority and using the new standards as a basis for pursuing Shooter’s expulsion.

Under the previous policy, the suit reads, “Mr. Shooter would have been found to have made offensive attempts at humor, in instances one time in front of separate individuals, but not to have created a hostile work environment.”

Shooter wants the case to be heard by a jury trial and is seeking unspecified damages, attorney’s fees and “other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper under the circumstances.”

Shooter attempted to return to the Capitol during last year’s midterm election, but he finished third out of three candidates in the Republican primary for the District 13 state Senate seat.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...

Phoenix temperature hits sub-50 for the first time since spring

Turn the heater on and get those fuzzy socks out-- Winter is approaching as some Valley residents saw some chilly temperatures Sunday morning.
17 hours ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Phoenix police investigating death of woman following single-vehicle car crash

Phoenix police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman following a single-vehicle car accident early Sunday, authorities said.
17 hours ago
Syringes with the vaccine Comirnaty of Pfizer against the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease stan...

Arizona reports 2,274 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths on Sunday

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 2,274 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths.
17 hours ago
The 34th annual APS Electric Light Parade returns Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. (APS Electric Light Pa...

Electric Light Parade returns to central Phoenix on Saturday

The central Phoenix night will be lit up with holiday colors Saturday during the annual APS Electric Light Parade.
17 hours ago
(Over Easy Photo)...

Tired of turkey? Here are some Valley spots for National French Toast Day

Tired of turkey? Besides being Thanksgiving, Thursday is also National French Toast Day. Here are some Valley spots that offer the breakfast delight.
17 hours ago
FILE - Migrants, many from Haiti, wade across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciud...
Associated Press

Anxiety grows that Biden administration can’t find balance on immigration

A year into Biden’s presidency, there is growing concern among some in the party that the administration can’t find balance on immigration.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Sanderson Ford

Sanderson Ford offers cars and deals for all this holiday season

Sanderson Ford’s No! Vember Black Friday sale is giving an opportunity to purchase a new 2021 vehicle just in time for the holiday season.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
PNC Bank

How one organization supports early childhood literacy for the most vulnerable

Nearly two out of every three children in low-income communities don’t own a single children’s book, a fact that ultimately could have profound impacts even before entering kindergarten, according to Arizona nonprofit Southwest Human Development.
Don Shooter sues over his removal from House for sexual harassment