Ethics panel: House Democrat violated sexual harassment rule

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Democratic Tennessee lawmaker has been instructed to take “preventative action” after a House ethics panel found he violated the General Assembly’s sexual harassment policy.

House Speaker Glen Casada’s office received a letter from the House Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Subcommittee on April 1, which said the panel had reviewed complaints against Rep. Rick Staples.

The Tennessean first reported the existence of the letter on Wednesday. The Associated Press has since obtained a copy.

According to the letter, the subcommittee has directed the Knoxville Democrat to take actions to ensure the violation does not happen again and to report back to the subcommittee.

On April 4, Staples told reporters he was sorry for having his behavior possibly misinterpreted after being accused of sexual misconduct, but denied he was under investigation.

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