JEFFERSON CITY • Senate officials are preparing to release the results of their investigation of possible harassment after two interns left the office of Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence, in March.
The Senate plans to release a statement and the investigation results at 1 p.m. The Senate Administration Committee was going to meet before releasing the information, but the meeting has been cancelled.
In May, the Senate hired St. Louis-based attorney Jim Nowogrocki to assist with a “workplace harassment complaint” related to the University of Central Missouri's interns in LeVota's office this past session. Additionally, the university launched a Title IX investigation, but university officials have not commented on it.
Title IX is a 1972 federal law that bars discrimination in federally funded education programs on the basis of gender. Often referred to when discussing equal access to opportunities in sports, Title IX includes bans against unequal treatment based on sex, sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that neither the Senate nor the university's investigation results would be public. Senate officials were very vague when questioned and the university cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, in withholding information.
Because of that law, passed in 1974 to protect a student’s education records, it’s unlikely the university ever will the results of its investigation. The results would be public only if the intern opted to release them.
News broke of the harassment complaint in LeVota's office shortly after former House Speaker John Diehl, R-Town and Country, resigned because of sexually charged messages he shared with a 19-year-old intern from Missouri Southern State University. Missouri Southern is investigating the matter.