SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Salt Lake County Democratic Party has called for the “immediate and unconditional” resignation of Utah State Senator Gene Davis following an investigation of sexual harassment claims against the senator.
In a statement made on Aug. 4 via Twitter, The Salt Lake County Democratic Party Chair Eva Lopez said “recently, it has come to my attention that a young professional, serving as a legislative intern in the 2022 legislative session to Senator Gene Davis, felt unsafe, harassed, and ultimately, failed by the Salt Lake County Democratic Party and leaders of the party.”
On Thursday, Sept. 8 – just a little over a month after the initial allegations were brought to the attention of Party leaders – The Judicial Standing Committee unanimously voted to find Davis had violated the Party’s Anti-Harassment Policy. As a result, the Executive Committee voted unanimously to suspend Davis from all Party events and Party support for two years.
They also called for the immediate and unconditional resignation of the Senator. Davis oversees District 3 and Salt Lake County in the Utah Senate where also serves as the Minority Caucus Manager.
According to a public statement made by the Salt Lake County Democratic Party, the Party followed procedures laid out in an Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedure handbook to conduct a thorough investigation into the accusation. Davis had 14 days to file an appeal of the decision but, according to the Party, did not do so.
“We remain committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment, free of harassment, to all who wish to participate,” said the Party’s Executive Committee in the statement. “We take our responsibility of providing this environment seriously and will always stand up for those who experience harassment, regardless of the identity of the accused.”
The same day the Party released its statement on the decision – Tuesday, Sept. 27 – Davis’ Attorney, Benjamin Grindstaff, released a statement claiming the Salt Lake County Democratic Party failed in its investigation.
“The Executive Committee claimed that their investigation was fairly conducted under their Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedure,” said Grindstaff. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
According to Grindstaff, Senator Davis had done nothing that would warrant his resignation. In his statement, Grindstaff says that confidentially of the investigation was “never considered” as demonstrated by the multiple statements. Grindstaff continues by saying there was no unbias process, claiming the accuser was allowed to serve on the Judicial Committee and Executive Committee over the objection.
Grindstaff further claims Senator Davis did appeal the decision within the two-week window and accused the Party’s Executive Committee of “simply ignoring” it. In his statement, Grindstaff also says Senator Davis was never given his opportunity to be heard in regard to the accusations made against him, “a violation of his constitutionally protected due process rights.”
“Senator Davis is saddened that the Salt Lake County Party Leaders have continually violated the Party’s policies and procedures, but he will continue to tirelessly serve the great people of his district and the State of Utah through the full term of his office as he has done for the last 36 years,” Grindstaff concluded in his statement.