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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington House GOP Leader: 'I Have Personally Been A Victim Of Sexual Harassment'

Deborah Wang
Northwest News Network
House Republican Leader Dan Kristiansen speaks with reporters after revealing that he was sexually harassed at the state Capitol more than a decade ago.

The Republican leader in the Washington state House says he was sexually harassed at the Capitol more than a decade ago. Dan Kristiansen revealed his experience Thursday during a legislative preview event hosted by the Associated Press.

He made his comments while answering a question about creating a safe work environment at the Capitol.

“I have personally been a victim of sexual harassment on this campus,” Kristiansen said.

Kristiansen said it was a woman who harassed him, but he wouldn’t say who she was or her position. He said he handled the matter on his own.

“I nipped it in the bud immediately,” Kristiansen said.

Kristiansen said he’s speaking out now to show it’s not just women who are victims. But he also said he’s worried about due process for the accused.

“Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a lynch mob mentality, especially if you’re innocent,” Kristiansen said.

The Washington House and Senate are currently reviewing their sexual harassment policies and holding trainings for staff and members. In November, more than 200 women signed a letter calling on legislative leaders to address a culture at the Capitol they say too often protects harassers.