Senate Report Says Intern Claims Sexual Harassment Claim against LeVota

(AP) – A Missouri Senate report released Wednesday details an intern’s claims that Democratic state Sen. Paul LeVota sexually harassed her, asked her explicitly for sex and retaliated when she refused.

The report says the intern claimed a pattern of “unwelcome messages and explicit requests for sexual activity” from LeVota.

LeVota denied that he engaged in any sexual harassment and said he would comment further later. The 47-year-old Democrat, who lives with his wife and two daughters in Independence, he did not yet have a copy of the report.

The investigation came after two University of Central Missouri students abruptly left an internship with LeVota partway through the last legislative session, which ended in May. That same day, former Republican House Speaker John Diehl resigned after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive text messages with a Capitol intern.

While LeVota had previously said only that the Senate was investigating after his interns’ departures, a person familiar with the investigation told AP that the review focused on an intern’s sexual harassment complaint against the senator. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation.

LeVota was elected to the Senate in 2012 and serves on the Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics Committee, among others. Voters had elected him in 2002 to the House, where he served for a decade and served as House minority leader from 2007 to 2010. He graduated from Central Missouri State University, now known as the University of Central Missouri, with a degree in speech communications and political science.

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