Ethics report says committee could not substantiate allegation against Baltimore Del. Curt Anderson

The Maryland General Assembly’s ethics committee could not substantiate the most serious allegation that Baltimore Del. Curt Anderson faced during a sexual misconduct investigation, according to the panel’s report released Friday.

The release of the committee’s full report came two weeks after House Speaker Michael E. Busch announced that he was stripping the Baltimore Democrat of his leadership post and requiring him to undergo intensive anti-harassment training, after the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics’ investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

The allegations leveled against Anderson were the first investigated and decided under a new process the legislature adopted this year to deal with sexual harassment complaints against lawmakers.

The bipartisan panel’s report states that it heard testimony under oath from two witnesses related to the most serious allegation of sexual assault — the woman who said she was assaulted and Anderson.

The report said that Anderson “categorically denied” the allegations and there was no physical evidence or corroborating testimony. “The committee could not conclude whether the alleged 2004 sexual assault occurred,” the report states.

The panel concluded there was sufficient evidence to uphold the other allegations against Anderson — that he had engaged in “inappropriate behavior and jokes of a sexual nature involving seven women.”

According to the report, two women provided sworn testimony about Anderson’s conduct. It said other people spoke to the committee’s outside counsel but decided not to offer sworn testimony.

The committee said Anderson “partially admitted” to inappropriate conduct.

Based on that and other evidence, the panel concluded that Anderson had acted in a way that was “inappropriate in the workplace” and “inconsistent with the standards of conduct, civility, and decorum expected of legislators.”

Anderson, 68, did not return a call seeking comment. He has previously said the committee’s conclusions were fair.

As a result of the recommendations, Busch removed Anderson from his posts as subcommittee chairman on the House Judiciary Committee and deputy majority whip. The panel recommended that Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, require Anderson to receive his harassment training from a licensed counselor within three months of receiving the recommendations.

The committee went further by urging the speaker to revise and strengthen the harassment training all members are required to undergo. The panel’s findings were unanimous.

In June five women — two former staff members and three legislators — told The Baltimore Sun an ethics committee investigator had interviewed them about Anderson’s conduct.

Shortly after The Sun reported that, Anderson narrowly won renomination for re-election in the June 26 Democratic primary — coming in third in the three-member 43rd District. He had come under pressure from some Democratic activists to take his name off the ballot before an Aug. 28 deadline, but state elections board records show he did not.

Voters will choose three delegates in November among Democrats Anderson, incumbent Maggie McIntosh and newcomer Regina T. Boyce, as well as Green Party candidate Bonnie “Raven” Lane.

Anderson, a lawyer and former TV broadcaster, served three terms as a delegate between 1983 and 1995. He won back his old seat in 2003 and is now in his seventh term.

The ethics panel normally has 12 members, half delegates and half senators. It now has 11 because of a Republican vacancy. By law, its deliberations are confidential and members are not permitted to comment outside their report.

mdresser@baltsun.com

twitter.com/michaeltdresser

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