Utah Democratic Party apologizes for handling of sexual harassment claims in 2017

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – For the first time since sexual misconduct allegations were launched against the Utah Democratic Party in 2017, officials from the party are apologizing.

The party tells ABC4 that the women who came forward were not allowed to speak, nor were they treated with dignity and respect.

“On behalf of myself and the Utah Democratic Party, I want to apologize directly to those involved in this situation and to every member of our party for how this situation was handled. Neither I nor any other member of our current leadership can take responsibility for our predecessors. What we can do is commit to making our community a safer and more respectful place.” said Jeff Merchant, Party Chair.

This comes on the heels of the Utah GOP’s handling of its sexual harassment claims launched against Salt Lake County GOP Scott Miller and Dave Robinson. The Republican Party came out quickly to denounce the actions of Miller and Robinson, along with their comments towards party women running in last year’s races.

The Utah Democratic Party tells ABC4 they’re committed to not allowing these failures in the future adding, “the UDP will work to both swiftly address any new allegations or concerns and to reach out to the victims of previous harassment to apologize, understand, and seek to remedy lingering concerns.”

An attorney for Rob Miller, whom the sexual harassment allegations are being made against, released the following statement to ABC4:

“The people who have lobbed the complaints against Rob Miller have done so in an opportunistic and highly suspect manner that has denied him fundamental fairness and due process. One has to wonder why no complaints were made by anyone until one of the ring-leaders was running against Rob for Democratic State Party Chair. No accusations had been made against Rob during the almost-decade he was in office before running for State Party Chair.

The title of the statement by the Democratic Party leadership itself is incredibly unfair, jumping to the unfounded conclusion that there was any “sexual harassment” or any “victims” of sexual harassment. No such thing has ever been demonstrated. Instead, there have only been vague, petty, untimely accusations made to help defeat Rob when he was running for State Party Chair and to discredit other party leaders whom the complainants or those they support sought to defeat.

The media has been complicit. After these several years and all the media space spent on this matter, no one has yet identified who supposedly suffered or witnessed any misconduct by Rob Miller, a good man and a stalwart Democrat who has suffered the unjust destruction of his reputation and livelihood as a result of these unfounded claims. Such failures by the media have been somewhat understandable, however, because the son (a lawyer) of one of the complainants (who trolled social media in a futile effort to find other people to complain) advised all the complainants not to speak to any of the media or to provide any information to support their joint, vague, unsupported allegations.

Seven complainants signed a vague statement, failing and refusing to identify who among them ever experienced or witnessed any of the supposed misconduct by Rob. Some of them have since admitted they had no first-hand knowledge whatsoever about any of the accusations.

Rob and I were ready to proceed with a “trial” ordered by the Democratic Party’s State Central Committee. But that Committee cancelled the “trial” after being urged to do so by one or more of the people leading this vicious campaign against Rob. We would value the opportunity to have a fair hearing, if overseen in a unbiased manner, with full opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine those who have made these vicious complaints against Rob.

Rob would like all the facts to be exposed – including how one of the complainants kept pursuing him (apparently unbeknownst to her husband), asking Rob to lunch and for beers, and offering to line him up with her friends, at the same time her husband claimed she was so traumatized by Rob’s actions that she could not attend any Democratic Party functions if Rob was going to be there.

This has all been a deceitful exploitation and betrayal of the #MeToo movement, carried on by people, some of whom have engaged in cruel, dishonest, malicious, threatening, and vulgar misconduct.

Rob and I would like nothing more than for a fair, unbiased investigation and exposure of the harassment and false allegations repeatedly resorted to by certain people who seek to be considered “victims” or the advocates of victims.

The only exhaustive investigation into the facts is reflected in the attached documents, which anyone must read if they seek to understand the facts about what has actually occurred.”

ABC4 will update this story as it develops.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...