UPDATE: Ethics Panel Fines Former Lawmaker

MGN Online
By Associated Press | 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) -- Former state Rep. John Arnold has been fined $3,000 for violating state ethics laws in a sexual harassment case brought by three female state workers.

The Legislative Ethics Commission voted Wednesday to convict Arnold of violating state ethics laws by inappropriately touching the three women.

It was the second hearing on the matter in two months. Commissioners voted 4-1 at the first hearing to convict Arnold. But state law requires the commission have at least five votes to take action.

Arnold's attorney Steve Downey told commissioners Arnold has been diagnosed with dementia.

The case could have repercussions for House Democrats in the fall elections. Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper -- who work for House Democratic leaders -- testified their complaints were initially ignored. Republicans have used the incident to criticize Democrats.

The Legislative Ethics Commission will hold a second public hearing Tuesday on allegations that former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold violated state ethics laws by sexually harassing three female state workers.

The nine-member commission held a public hearing last month on the charges and voted 4-1 to convict Arnold. But state law requires the commission to have at least five votes before it can take action. Three commissioners were absent and one seat is vacant. Seven commissioners attended Tuesday's meeting.

Arnold's attorney Steve Downey argued the commission did not have the authority to hold a second hearing. But commission chairman George Troutman said the case was never officially closed because the commission never had five votes.

The commission deliberated in a closed-door meeting over the objections of the media.

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