Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) has made a personal donation of $10,000 to help set up a hotline for state capitol interns to report harassment and misconduct issues. McCaskill said she made the donation last week to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
“The hotline would allow any intern anywhere in the state to call and get good information about what options they have, what the laws are,” said McCaskill.
McCaskill speaks openly about being sexually harassed while interning at the capitol in the 1970’s.
“The biggest issue facing someone who is being harassed in a situation where someone has a lot more power than you have is, ‘where can I go to find out what I should do?’ That is what this hotline would be for,” said McCaskill.
A group of Missouri lawmakers began work in May to form recommendations for an intern policy and an updated sexual harassment policy amid scandals involving interns. McCaskill reviewed the proposals, saying a hotline for capitol interns to call for help should be added.
The House of Representatives adopted in November the policies which include making more people in the House mandated reporters – people who have to report any instance of harassment or violations of the policy they know of. The protocol also involves training of staff, interns, and lawmakers regarding sexual harassment and inappropriate relationships.
Former House Speaker John Diehl, Jr. (R-Town and Country) admitted to swapping sexually suggestive texts with a college intern and resigned in May. Former Senator Paul LeVota (D-Independence) resigned this year after he was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct involving interns.