SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Utah Democratic Party is apologizing for the way they handled sexual harassment allegations from seven women stemming back to 2017.
This comes on the heels of the sexual harassment allegations in the Salt Lake County GOP, and the quick handling and response of the problem on that side.
At the center of this Utah Democratic Party, sexual harassment case is Rob Miller.
Miller was running for party chair when allegations of sexual harassment began arising.
Nadia Mahallati who is now the vice-chair of the party says she is speaking out for the seven women.
When asked what the allegations were, Mahallati tells us, “I don’t remember. I mean, I know but I wouldn’t feel comfortable just saying what they are. They are listed on a complaint and I don’t want to get it wrong.”
Mahallati says the women didn’t come forward at first because they were threatened by party leaders.
“We want to stay members of the party and we were actually threatened with expulsion from the party if we were to publicly speak about what had happened,” she says.
ABC4 News Investigator Jason Nguyen went to the Democratic Party to ask why was the allegations allowed to continue after the new administration took its place.
Joshua Rush Utah Democratic Party Communications Director tells Nguyen, “You’re right, I mean, this was a mistake on behalf of the party. We should have heard these women out in the first place. And this is our mea culpa, we want to move forward, and we want to get an investigation done and we are going to do it right coming forward.”
“These women who came forward, they were never questioned by the party. They were never able to tell their story for consideration, and they have been silenced, and we continue to have been silenced,” says Mahallati.
Rocky Anderson represents Rob Miller. He says, “How many times can these people who can make these unfounded allegations, nobody steps forward, and says I had this happen to me or I witnessed this happen.”
Anderson tells us there was a trial and Mahallati canceled it.
“She’s the one who told them they should cancel it, and now she is saying the party never got to the bottom of it,” he adds.
Mahallati tells us, “We were preparing to have a trial to appeal the previous decision that found there is no jurisdiction for the party to do anything, and upon preparing for that these women realized that there were many procedural errors leading up to that, and they felt there was no legitimate decision that they could appeal because of all those procedural errors.”
The Utah Democratic Party changed its harassment policies since the allegations in 2017.
We asked Rush what policies would be followed in this investigation.
Rush says, “I can’t answer that question quite yet, the executive committee, the judicial committee, and the rules committee are all going to have to meet and figure this out.”
ABC4 News spoke with two of the alleged victims in this case. All parties agree the most important thing is to get the truth out there. We don’t know how transparent the process will be or when the investigation will come to an end.
Stay with ABC4 News as this story continues to develop.