Arizona state Rep. Don Shooter acknowledges 'insensitive' conduct

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PHOENIX (AP) -

Arizona state Rep. Don Shooter apologized to fellow House members Tuesday at the start of mandatory sexual harassment training required in large part because of sexual harassment and other misconduct complaints made against him.

[WATCH: AZ state Rep.Don Shooter apologizes]

The Yuma Republican apologized for conduct he acknowledged was "jarring, insensitive and demeaning" but denied the most serious complaint - that he tried to pressure Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita into having a sexual relationship with him.

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

"It is important for you to know that while my actions have unintentionally offended some, I have never attempted to touch anyone, made obscene gestures at a woman nor sought a tryst or sexual relationship," he said.

Ugenti-Rita, a Republican, was in the chamber when Shooter read his statement and appeared shaken at times. She left the House floor soon after Shooter stopped speaking but returned later.

[RELATED: Arizona lawmaker cites sexual harassment by male colleagues]

An investigation into Shooter's alleged misconduct is ongoing and he has been removed as head of the appropriations committee.

[RELATED: State lawmaker accuses CBS5 News and 3TV of harassment in strange interview]

House Speaker J.D. Mensard, a Republican, issued the chamber's first written policy on harassment shortly after Ugenti-Rita made the allegations public in October. In the following weeks, a series of other women came out with stories of boorish, crude or insensitive behavior by Shooter.

[READ MORE: New accuser charges Arizona lawmaker with sexual harassment]

No state Senate members have been accused of sexual harassment or misconduct, but all 30 members went through training in recent weeks.

The 60 House members were called by Mesnard to hear a training presentation by House and Arizona Attorney General attorneys.

It came a day after Mesnard told members on the opening day of the 2018 Legislative session that male legislators need to consider their actions.

"Let's treat all women - regardless of their background, their age, their political affiliation, their role in the process - as ladies, as we would like anybody to treat our wives, our daughters, mothers, sisters,' Mesnard said.

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