A report has been released detailing a college intern’s allegations of sexual misconduct by State Senator Paul LeVota (D-Independence). The Senate hired Jim Nowogrocki of St. Louis-based Weiss Attorneys of Law to assist with a “workplace harassment complaint.” Nowogrocki conducted the report linked below.
The female student claimed she experienced a pattern of sexual harassment including unwelcome text messages and explicit requests for sexual activity. The report said that when she informed LeVota’s chief of staff about the matter she believed she “was subject to retaliation.” The intern is over 18 years of age and University of Central Missouri staff, where the intern attends school, indicated that there were “no allegations of a crime.”
LeVota denied the allegations when speaking to investigators. A call to LeVota’s office on the matter has not been returned.
Records of the text messages were not available from either party. The intern said she no longer had the phone and LeVota would not turn over his citing “privacy concerns about personal information on his telephone.”
The intern says she received two sexual advances from LeVota on January 26. After having a few drinks at an event in Jefferson City the student claims that LeVota encouraged her to come his apartment instead of driving to her residence in Fulton. While at his apartment she claims that LeVota said, “If you want to sleep with me tonight, I won’t tell you no.” She told investigators that she turned him down and LeVota apologized but “continued acting in a flirtatious manner.” She said he also made derogatory comments about the intern’s boyfriend and joked about his anatomy.
The student says she slept on the couch at his residence but says there was no physical contact. LeVota denies she was ever there, though she described to investigators the inside of his apartment including the color of the couch.
After that January evening, the intern told investigators, she became the subject of retaliation by LeVota and was not included in workplace projects.
Senate Democrat Leader Joe Keaveny says it’s hard to draw a conclusion.
“This has really developed into a he said she said and unfortunately we do not have access to any evidence at all,” says Keaveny. “Obviously I’m an attorney and you have to be fair to both sides.”
Keaveny says he’s not sure what the next step will be and is not sure if LeVota should remain in office or if he plans to step down.
“I’m not sure if we can proceed on this particular issue with anything. I know that there will be a heightened awareness for training and sensitivity for conduct in the workplace,” says Keaveny.
LeVota lives in Independence with his wife and has two daughters.
To see the full report, click here.