Sen. Wilson disciplined for retaliating against aide in press conference

Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, addresses his colleagues in the Senate on Friday, June 16, 2017. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Senate leaders have disciplined Wasilla Republican Sen. David Wilson over an incident in which he retaliated against a female legislative aide.

Wilson will be on probation for three months and was required to write a letter to the aide taking responsibility for his actions. Fairbanks Republican Senate President Pete Kelly said the leaders took other actions.

“We required an individual training course on retaliation and placed Sen. Wilson under travel restriction,” Kelly said.

Senate President Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, reads a statement about disciplinary action Senate leaders took against Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla. Sen. Peter Micciche, right, watches. (Photo by Bob Laurie/360 North)

Kelly said Wilson must demonstrate during the probation that he understands human resources policies, and the Legislature’s expectations for decorum. And he won’t be able to take any state-funded trips.

Skiff Lobaugh, the Legislature’s human resource manager, found in a report released Wednesday that Wilson committed retaliation during a December press conference.

Wilson said at the press conference that security footage showed he hadn’t sexually harassed the aide during a June incident.

Lobaugh found that the incident did not fit the definition of hostile work environment sexual harassment. But Lobaugh said the incident did occur and that it was an uncomfortable interaction between Wilson and the aide. Lobaugh wrote that Wilson undermined the investigation by claiming the incident didn’t happen.

Eyewitnesses said Wilson held his cellphone between the aide’s legs. Lobaugh said the video showed Wilson held the phone one to two feet from the hemline of the aide’s skirt.

In addition, Wilson called during the press conference for House Speaker Bryce Edgmon to step down from leadership. If Edgmon had done this, the aide could have taken a pay cut or lost her job.