Voters react to State Rep. Dan Kirby decision; Oklahoma lawmaker accused of sexual harassment

Posted at 9:08 PM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 22:21:39-05

Republican State Representative Dan Kirby is under fire after resigning last week and then rescinding that resignation Wednesday night. The Oklahoma Democratic party is calling for an investigation into a $44,000 settlement paid to a former employee accusing the State Rep. of sexual harassment.

Broken Arrow resident of 40 years, Arthur Benedetti, believes "sticking by your word," is a phrase we all should live by. 

"I take his word for it," he said. "I think he ought to follow through with it."

When it comes to the recent sexual harassment scandal surrounding Republican Dan Kirby, Benedetti thinks his local state representative should follow that motto. 

"You have to take him for his word and give him the benefit of the doubt," he said. "But I don't believe it."

Kirby resigned last week. He is accused of sexually harassing a former staffer who was fired. More than $44,000 of taxpayer money was used to settle the complaint.

"I think that's totally underhanded and shouldn't have been done," said Broken Arrow resident Arthur Benedetti. "There should have been a public notice or an awareness of it going on before they went ahead and spent taxpayer money on it."

A lawsuit was never filed. Thursday afternoon, the Oklahoma Democratic party called for an investigation into the settlement paid to the former employee, after Kirby rescinded his resignation Wednesday night. He said he made a "hasty decision."

"Where does the authority come from to take money from an appropriated fund and spend it on a lawsuit like this?" OKlahoma Democratic Pary Chair Mark Hammons said. 

Kirby says he had no knowledge of the settlement and stated in written statement, "I have never seen the settlement agreement nor do I have any knowledge of the terms contained in the settlement agreement. I would like to make it clear that the allegations of sexual harassment are untrue." 

We the People Oklahoma organizer Marq Lewis doesn't buy Kirby's statement. 

"I don't believe that any person in their right mind would say to him, 'Stop. this is wrong,'" he said. "I believe that he had several warnings."

Now, Arthur Benedetti hopes his local politician will stand by his word.

House Speaker-elect Charles McCall said he would be authorizing an investigation and that a bipartisan committee will examine the settlement paid out of house funds.

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