Lawmaker won't talk to sexual harassment investigators

Posted: Updated:
Rep. Kelly Townsend. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Rep. Kelly Townsend. 13 Nov. 2017 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
Michelle Ugenti-Rita claims she was harassed by Don Shooter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Michelle Ugenti-Rita claims she was harassed by Don Shooter. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Rep. Don Shooter (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Rep. Don Shooter (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

After making accusations that she was sexually harassed at the state Legislature, Rep. Kelly Townsend said Monday that she will not speak to investigators looking into the issue. 

Townsend, a Republican from Mesa, said she wanted to leave the episode in the past because it was already handled. 

In an interview, Townsend said it was a, "painful issue for me and I don't see any reason to go through it again."

Townsend was one four female lawmakers last week to come forward and share their stories about harassment at the state Capitol. 

[RELATED: Arizona Statehouse launches sexual harassment investigation]

Three of those women made claims against Rep. Don Shooter, a Republican from Yuma, who is one of the most powerful elected officials in the Legislature. 

Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a Republican from Scottsdale, made the most serious accusations against Shooter, claiming he made repeated unwelcome sexual advances since she arrived at the Capitol in 2011. 

[RELATED: Powerful lawmaker accused of sexual harassment at AZ State Capitol]

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard responded by launching an investigation and suspending Shooter from his powerful position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. 

[RELATED: Arizona lawmaker accused of sex remarks loses committee post]

Shooter has denied any wrongdoing and has leveled his own accusations against Ugenti-Rita. 

In a statement released last week, Shooter accused Ugenti-Rita of having an inappropriate relationship with a House staff member. 

The House investigation included the accusations against Ugenti-Rita into the initial report even though she is not accused of sexually harassing the House staffer.  

"I take all allegations of sexual harassment seriously. If certain allegations do not have merit or do not fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment, investigators will dismiss them," Mesnard said in a statement. 

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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