Oklahoma representative accused of sexual harassment agrees to appear before committee
OKLAHOMA CITY – Three days after announcing that he would not appear before an investigative committee, an Oklahoma representative has changed his mind.
On Monday, Rep. Dan Kirby announced that he would not appear before the committee because of four issues that he feels would impair his due process.
Kirby is accused of sexually harassing a female staffer before firing her, an allegation Kirby disputes.
Kirby says he and his attorney were not notified or present during the questioning of witnesses, and was not given a list of witnesses or the results of any investigation that was already completed.
In fact, Kirby says that he had not been given any documentation that the committee has, and has to rely on the information given to and disclosed by the press to even understand the allegations against him.
“I supported the committee and looked forward to the opportunity to defend myself and restore my reputation. I adamantly deny that I sexually harassed anyone who worked with me at the Capitol. However, I support an open, transparent, and fair process like anyone accused of wrongdoing would be allowed,” Kirby said. “This committee serves as judge, jury, and executioner with the authority to affect my reputation and the representation of District 75; as such, I would think that it would disclose to me the entirety of the allegations and any alleged evidence presented so that I would be given a fair and reasonable opportunity to defend myself.”
State Rep. Josh Cockroft, chair of the House Special Investigation Committee, responded to Kirby’s announcement by saying that Kirby had been offered every document the committee could give him without ‘compromising confidential information.’
“What Rep. Kirby seems to want is the opportunity to cross-examine his accusers, and that is simply not going to happen. Allowing that would discourage future victims from coming forward. It was explained to Rep. Kirby that this process is closed to protect the victims, not the elected officials. I don’t understand Rep. Kirby’s confusion,” his statement read, in part.
Cockroft said the investigation would continue whether Kirby attended or not.
On Thursday, Kirby announced that he would appear before the committee following days of discussions.
“While we remain concerned with some procedures governing the Special House Investigative Committee, I believe it is in the best interest of my constituents and the citizens of the State of Oklahoma that I appear before the committee and respond to the allegations lodged against me,” he said. “As I have previously said, I support and look forward to the opportunity to defend myself and attempt to restore my reputation. I adamantly deny that I am guilty of sexual harassment.”
Kirby is expected to appear before the committee on Friday.