New accuser charges Arizona lawmaker with sexual harassment

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A new allegation of sexual harassment emerged Tuesday against Republican state Rep. Don Shooter, adding to a growing list of accusers against the top lawmaker.

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

Tara Zika, an employee at a risk management firm told the Arizona Capitol Times that Shooter made inappropriate sexual comments and gestures toward her in August.

Both were at a League of Arizona Cities and Towns conference. According to the 26-year-old business development director, Shooter beckoned her over to a table where he was chatting with a group of men. She said he then blew her a kiss and made sexually suggestive comments about her legs.

Zika alleged he later made a crude remark about wanting to have sex and made a gesture meant to imply oral sex.

She didn't know who he was at the time but told him not to speak or look at her. He then mocked her for the rest of the conference, Zika said.

"It's undermining and it's humiliating," she said.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

Daniel Pasternak, an attorney for the 65-year-old lawmaker, did not respond to an immediate request for comment.

Zika's accusations bring the total number of women alleging harassment by Shooter to nine. They include lobbyists, lawmakers and the publisher of the Arizona Republic.

[RELATED: Publisher says Arizona lawmaker made offensive remarks]

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard suspended Shooter on Friday from leading the House Appropriations committee while investigations are conducted.

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

A bi-partisan team was initially put in charge of the probe. But now an outside attorney will join the investigation because of the "number and nature" of the allegations, Mesnard said.

Several people have called for Shooter to resign.

[RELATED: Gov. Ducey says more need to be done to end sexual harassment at the Capitol]

Shooter denied the allegations from Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and accused her of pursuing an affair with a House staffer. Several other women - lawmakers, lobbyists and Parrish - have come forward with similar accusations since Ugenti-Rita gave a television interview on the matter last week.

[ONLINE: Michelle Ugenti-Rita's Facebook post about sexual harassment]

[RELATED: Lawmaker won't talk to sexual harassment investigators]

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