Maryland General Assembly's ethics panel investigating Del. Curt Anderson for alleged sexual misconduct

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

State Del. Curt Anderson of Baltimore is being investigated by the General Assembly’s ethics committee for alleged sexual misconduct and sexual harassment, according to multiple sources.

Five women – two former staffers and three current lawmakers – told The Baltimore Sun an outside investigator hired by the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has interviewed them about their experiences with Anderson, the former sportscaster who is chairman of the city’s House delegation. At least two of those interviews took place this week.

Other sources with knowledge of the investigation, including Anderson, confirmed it is in progress.

The accusations range from an alleged sexual assault 14 years ago to an unwanted kiss and inappropriate comments about women’s appearance, according to the women and a 2017 Baltimore police report.

The ethics investigation, led by a lawyer from the Baltimore firm of Miles and Stockbridge, has been underway since early April, the sources said.

In an interview, Anderson, a Democrat, denied each of the individual allegations and noted he has not been charged with any crime or ethics violation.

The two lawmakers who lead the ethics committee, Sen. Ed DeGrange of Anne Arundel County and Del. Adrienne Jones of Baltimore County, both Democrats, declined to discuss the investigation and said they were bound by confidentiality rules.

Anderson said the cloud of the allegations, sparked by the December 2017 police report alleging a 2004 sexual assault, led him to consider withdrawing from the June 26 primary election. Instead, he asked his longtime political allies – Sen. Joan Carter Conway and Del. Maggie McIntosh – to campaign on a ticket without him.

“Being accused of something you didn’t do, for some people it could roll off their backs,” Anderson said. “For me, it was very stressful.”

One of Anderson’s former staffers filed a police report in December alleging that in 2004 Anderson locked her in his Baltimore office, kissed her despite her protestations, pushed her onto a sofa, took off her clothes and performed oral sex on her against her will, according to the police report.

The Sun does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault.

Anderson said he never had any sexual contact with the woman.

“This incident never happened,” Anderson said. “I know this person, and I know that I didn’t have any kind of a relationship with her.”

The woman told The Sun she filed a complaint with the legislature’s human resources department and ethics committee at the time, and feels it was mishandled. She said the #metoo movement prompted her to come forward now.

Anderson, “a man in power,” should be held accountable, she said.

Anderson said he was interviewed by police in January, and that his attorney later told him the Maryland State Prosecutor could not corroborate the account and would not be pressing charges. State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt said his office will neither “confirm nor deny investigations.”

Senator Conway, who chairs the Education, Health and Environment Committee, said she, Anderson and McIntosh, chair of the Appropriations Committee, discussed the allegations and decided the women would honor Anderson’s request they run on their own slate without him.

“He didn’t want it to stick to us as though we were upholding someone accused of mistreating women,” Conway said. “We all know allegations are damaging” even if they’re not true, she said.

Three other women discussed their interviews with the ethics investigator under condition of anonymity because ethics proceedings are confidential under state law. A fifth woman confirmed she was interviewed but declined to reveal her account.

Two current lawmakers said Anderson behaved inappropriately toward them in 2015 in incidents each described as seeming like jokes to Anderson.

One lawmaker said Anderson approached her on the floor of the House of Delegates shortly after a political website published an article describing a culture of disrespect in the legislature. She said Anderson told her, “They say I’m not supposed to do this anymore,” and then kissed her on the mouth. A male lawmaker who witnessed the incident corroborated the account. The woman said she was stunned and embarrassed to be kissed while trying to walk to her desk, but she did not report it to ethics officials until recently.

Anderson said he does not recall the interaction. “I do not remember kissing her,” he said.

Another current lawmaker said Anderson looked her up and down and told her, “I’d do you” in front of a group of colleagues on the House floor. The lawmaker said she considered it “over the line” but didn’t report it to ethics officials at the time because it was relatively minor compared to other incidents in Annapolis.

“I laughed it off because that’s what women have been having to do for so long,” she said.

Anderson said he did not recall such an incident.

Another former General Assembly staffer, who did not work for Anderson, described Anderson’s behavior toward her as “oblivious harassment.”

She said he visited her office frequently over the course of three years starting in 2011 and made comments about her body, her dating life and her appearance.

“It was not aggressive in any kind of physical way, but it was provocative and inappropriate,” she said. “It felt gross. It made me terribly uncomfortable and never want to be in a room with him alone.”

Anderson said he did not recall saying anything inappropriate to the woman.

He said he hoped the ethics investigation would ultimately clear him after all the evidence is weighed.

“The ethics commission is doing exactly what it is supposed to do and trying to investigate the complaint thoroughly,” Anderson said. “I don’t have any problem with that, that’s what they’re supposed to do if someone comes forward.”

Baltimore Sun reporters Justin Fenton and Doug Donovan contributed to this article.

ecox@baltsun.com

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