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11 sexual harassment complaints made in Maryland legislature

Associated Press

A new report tracking sexual harassment in the Maryland General Assembly says there were 11 complaints against lawmakers over the last year, but it's unclear how many lawmakers were involved.

The Department of Legislative Services released the report Thursday to a panel of lawmakers that sets policy for the General Assembly. The report does not identify any lawmaker by name and does not detail how many legislators were accused by multiple people.

Lori Mathis, director of the Department of Legislative Services’ Office of Operations and Support Services, said there were 17 total complaints against lawmakers, including 11 alleging sexual harassment.

“There were 17 complaints made against legislators,” Mathis said. “There could have been multiple complaints made against the same legislator. … 11 complaints fell under the header ‘sexual harassment.’”

The panel decided last year to compile an annual report and make it public, after a wave of allegations against national political, entertainment and media figures, as well as sexual misconduct concerns in statehouses around the country. It's the first report of its kind in Maryland.

The report records complaints from last December to November.

At least one investigation into sexual harassment that occurred last session is known. A General Assembly ethics committee investigated harassment and assault allegations against Baltimore Delegate Curt Anderson, a Democrat.

House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch referred accusations against Anderson to the committee, citing a "pattern of conduct.” The committee said it couldn’t substantiate the most serious matter, an alleged sexual assault in 2004, but found Anderson behaved and joked inappropriately with seven women.

Anderson has denied the accusations, but the committee said he partially admitted to impropriety.

The committee ordered Anderson, who won re-election in November, to take anti-harassment training, and Busch stripped him of his positions as deputy majority whip and chair of a judiciary subcommittee.

This January, the General Assembly also will bring in the former chief of staff for first lady Michelle Obama to conduct sexual harassment prevention training for 188 lawmakers and their staffs.

Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this report.

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