Paper Sues Over Sexual Harassment Documents

May 16, 2018

The Lexington Herald-Leader filed a lawsuit this week against the Legislative Research Commission, seeking documents related to a sexual harassment complaint filed in 2015 against a member of the House of Representatives.

The paper obtained an internal House Republican memo claiming State Representative Jim Stewart III was accused of harassing a legislative staffer. Stewart denied knowing about the complaint but the memo said he agreed to “cease all communication with the staffer.” The LRC denied an open records request by the Herald-Leader saying they were exempt from the Open Records Act because the documents were preliminary and releasing them would constitute an invasion of privacy, and might harm an ongoing administrative adjudication. After filing several appeals, the request continued to be denied.

The newspaper contends in its lawsuit that "none of the exceptions to the Open Records Act cited by the LRC apply to the Herald-Leader’s request, nor are the documents protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege or any exemption granted by Section 43 of the Kentucky Constitution."