A sexual harassment complaint filed against Rep. John Arnold has brought to light allegations that two Eastern Kentucky lawmakers — one a former member of House leadership — were romantically linked to legislative secretaries.
In her complaint filed Friday with the Legislative Ethics Commission, Yolanda Costner, an aide to House Majority Whip Tommy Thompson, detailed two alleged relationships involving Reps. Keith Hall and John Will Stacy.
The men are not connected with accusations of sexual harassment brought against Arnold, D-Sturgis. The complaint, obtained by The State Journal, gave no indication that the alleged relationships were nonconsensual.
The complaint offers a detailed glimpse of an alleged incident in March 2012 involving the now estranged wife of Hall, D-Phelps. Stephanie Hall allegedly drove to Frankfort and destroyed pictures on the desk of a legislative secretary romantically linked to her husband.
Stephanie Hall taped a copy of a sexually charged text message Keith Hall intended for the secretary with a handwritten note to end the relationship immediately, the complaint said. Hall’s office was moved from the fourth floor of the Capitol Annex to the third floor after the incident, according to the complaint.
The secretary was assigned to a job in the Transportation Cabinet in April 2013 with the help of Hall, the complaint said.
Transportation Cabinet spokesman Chuck Wolfe said she was not "assigned" to the agency but "was interviewed and hired to fill a secretarial position that had become vacant."
Hall, who said he has been in the process of divorcing his wife for 18 months, confirmed that she destroyed the secretary’s property as well as his own legislative office in the Capitol Annex.
The incident had nothing to do with the divorce, he said. He denied any sexual relationship with an LRC staffer.
“None whatsoever, and the records will state what I’m telling you to be truth,” Hall said Thursday.
The complaint said Stacy’s alleged relationship with a legislative secretary came up during a March 2010 meeting with Legislative Research Commission Personnel Director Roy Collins. Stacy, D-West Liberty, is a former House majority whip.
He was not aware that information was included in the complaint, but he, too, denied any romantic relationship with LRC staff Thursday.
“I don’t have no idea what they’re talking about,” Stacy said.
Costner also said in her complaint she told Stacy and his then-chief of staff, Kyna Koch, that Arnold grabbed her underwear while she walked the Capitol Annex steps. The complaint said Stacy replied that Arnold was “harmless.”
“I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of anybody ever saying that to me,” Stacy told The State Journal.
The complaint said LRC has a policy against legislative staff being romantically involved with lawmakers, but LRC Director Bobby Sherman said no such policy exists. LRC personnel policy focuses on preventing and correcting abuse, harassment, intimidation, retaliation and other inappropriate treatment of staff, Sherman said.
“We treat people as adults, and what they do in their own time, again if it does not violate any of those standards I just mentioned, is up to them as consenting adults,” he said.
House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, said while no written policy prohibiting romantic relationships between legislators and LRC staff exists, “certainly it should be an unwritten policy.”