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Records Outline Discipline Against House Members Over Harassment Complaints

Ohio Statehouse
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio

The top leader of the Ohio House is defending his actions after newly-released records show three representatives and one staff member were disciplined after complaints of harassment.

The cases were outlined in public records that were requested after the recent resignation of former Sen. Cliff Hite, a Findlay Republican who left office after being accused of sexual harassment by a female legislative staffer.

The House records detail the following cases:

  • Dem. Representative Stephanie Howse was removed from a committee leadership position in June 2016 because of a harassment complaint against her.
  • A discrimination complaint was filed in March of this year by an aide to Dem. Representative Bernadine Kennedy Kent, who was ordered to undergo training.
  • A complaint was filed in 2015 against Republican Rep. Mike Henne of the Dayton area after a comment he made. He temporarily lost his committee leadership position, and has apologized and underwent sensitivity training.
  • In May of 2016, Mark Homyak, a staff member for former Rep. Nan Baker, was fired for inappropriate behavior.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger said all four cases were immediately investigated.
“Discrimination or harassment of any nature is not acceptable. I have zero tolerance for it, especially with the staff and also with the members,” Rosenberger said.

Meanwhile, Senate President Larry Obhof says Hite’s resignation has made the need for further punishment unnecessary.