North Dakota’s Legislative Council revealed 14 pages of complaints from women who allege inappropriate behavior by Dickinson Rep. Luke Simons. This all was uncovered after a profane outburst from Simons toward a lawmaker who requested he wear a mask. That prompted records requests about his past actions.
Those documents can be viewed below.
One email shows a comment in which a redacted source says Simons suggested he would hit her child with his car. In another interaction, he references removing a woman’s shirt to provide aid to a wound during a car accident, and whether that would be sexual harassment. That member of the Legislative Council said she would no longer work with Simons.
Further complaints show other women within Legislative Council say they intentionally avoided him, too.
Simons posted on Facebook that those allegations are false, politically motivated and “an agenda by the left including rhinos.” That stands for ‘Republicans In Name Only.’
“This is allegations against my conservative beliefs to try to get me out of office. That’s the truth of it.”
He went on to say that he’s been recording conversations when he’s alone with women since the first accusation in March of 2018 became known.
“If you talk to women in a closed room, this can happen,” Simons said. “I fully expected this to happen.”
In multiple Facebook live videos, Simons said some of the conversations relayed in the documents did happen, but not in the way they’re described.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s absolutely absurd. I will not back down from the conversations at all, but what these people are reading is their interpretation of a conversation that just wasn’t so.”
He said that he has no desire to resign from office, but House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Louser said that might not be his choice.
Louser said that when the legislature reconvenes Wednesday, he expects some kind of action will be taken — whether that could be censorship, removal of committee assignments or even expulsion, is unclear.
Both Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Louser are documented to have been aware of the problem since nearly the beginning, and in one memo, Louser allegedly asked whether the woman “would have done anything to give Rep. Simons the impression she would be interested in his advances.”
Sen. Erin Oban says her experience working in a predominantly male environment has been largely positive, but she says she expects accountability for Simons’s alleged behavior.
She said in a statement “Rep. Simons is not a victim of anything but the consequences of his own words, actions, and behavior.”
Louser says there will likely be a statement from lawmakers on Friday about today’s revelations.
KX News also spoke with two former Legislative Council female staff, who said the allegations are in line with their experiences, but they are remaining anonymous for now.