sexual assault and harassment | KUOW News and Information

sexual assault and harassment

KUOW/Isolde Raftery

Benton Strong, the spokesman who stood by embattled Mayor Ed Murray to the end, has been revealed to have a checkered past of his own.

Democrat donkey
Flickr Photo/Georgia Democrats (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/a77qRq

King County Democrats say they’ve been torn this year between resolving a workplace scandal in their own ranks, and supporting candidates in this much-anticipated election year. Now they say they’re ready to move forward.

Bailey Stober, former chair of the King County Democrats.
Facebook Photo/Bailey Stober

The chair of King County's Democratic party has resigned in the wake of a harassment investigation.

Volunteers filed a complaint against Bailey Stober earlier this year, accusing him of harassing a staff member, using sexist language and mismanaging party funds.


Author Lindy West lives in Seattle.
Photo by Jenny Jimenez / http://photojj.com

Following the #MeToo movement, men say they're having a difficult time interacting with women in the workplace. That's according to a new Pew Research Center survey. New York Times columnist Lindy West calls B.S. on that — and has some tips for men at work. 

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty has been outspoken about ending sexual harassment, especially within the confines of Congress, and yet she conceded on Thursday that she failed to protect her own staff and provide a "safe and respectful work environment."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed into law several measures aimed at addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. They include a prohibition on non-disclosure agreements that silence victims of harassment or assault.

Women's March at Cal Anderson Park on Saturday, January 20, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Soon after the #MeToo scandals broke loose last fall, calls started pouring in to King County’s Sexual Assault Resource Center.

“More people are finding courage,” said Mary Ellen Stone, the center’s executive director. “The need is considerable.”

Washington Employment Security Department Commissioner Dale ​Peinecke is resigning following a workplace investigation into allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women on his staff.

File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Do you scoff when people say they support their local bookstores, but get their books on Amazon? Is supporting Woody Allen or R. Kelly any different? Katie Anthony says it can’t be. 

From left: Tracy Rector and Sara Marie Ortiz
Courtesy Tracy Rector and Sara Marie Ortiz

Can you predict the social media cycle of #metoo? First, the allegations. Then the apology, lackluster or seemingly heartfelt. Then the backlash: shows canceled, jobs lost, formerly prominent men stricken from the public domain. It's happened in film, in television, in comedy. And now it's happening to author Sherman Alexie.

The FBI is recognizing Coeur D’Alene tribal member Bernie LaSarte for her efforts to combat domestic violence in the Idaho Panhandle.



Several efforts to protect sexual assault victims failed to pass in Washington’s 60-day legislative session which adjourned last Thursday. Now lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are expressing frustration.

In a small conference room in Washington, D.C., a handful of lawyers and paralegals — most of them in their 20s — process applications coming in to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

Lindsay Church started Minority Veterans for America after leaving her position as post commander at Ballard's American Legion.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

When Navy veteran Lindsay Church was elected commander of American Legion Post 40 in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, she looked around the room and saw the future. It didn't look promising.

“Basically what I was seeing was the post was dying,” Church said. 

Sherman Alexie is a beloved native writer, filmmaker and poet. He also stands accused of sexual harassment by three women on the record and many more anonymously. KUOW reporter Liz Jones is following the story and sat down with Bill Radke after her first piece on the story published. 

In the opening scenes of the documentary film United by Water, writer Sherman Alexie reads his poem ‘Powwow At The End Of The World.’

     I am told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall

     after an Indian woman puts her shoulder to the Grand Coulee Dam

     and topples it. I am told by many of you that I must forgive

     and so I shall …

File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Three women have publicly accused prominent Seattle writer Sherman Alexie of sexual harassment. NPR aired the allegations Monday.

Sara Marie Ortiz is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma, a federally-recognized tribal nation in New Mexico. She's a longtime friend of Alexie’s. Ortiz said she’s never seen Alexie harass anybody, but said she knows two of the women in the NPR story, and considers them "sisters, and mentors, and helpers."


Elissa Washuta, a writer and member of Washington’s Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
Courtesy of Hugo House/Amber Cortes

Several women who have accused author Sherman Alexie of sexual harassment have now gone public with their stories.

As this story unfolds, it’s stirring some tough conversations within literary and Native American communities in the Northwest.


Writer Sherman Alexie last week issued a statement admitting he "has harmed" others, after rumors and allegations began to circulate about sexual harassment. Without providing details, Alexie said "there are women telling the truth," and he apologized to the people he has hurt. Now, some of those women have come forward to speak to NPR about their experiences with him.

Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Flickr Photo/Seattle City Council (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/U5ehfF

Seattle's anti-discrimination laws allow people up to 180 days to file a complaint against their employer. That statute of limitations would increase under a new Seattle City Council proposal, introduced this week.

The statute of limitations for workplace-discrimination complaints is about six months at the city, state and federal levels. The six-month timer starts when the alleged harassment occurs.

Bailey Stober, former chair of the King County Democrats.
Facebook Photo/Bailey Stober

The King County Democratic party has voted to investigate its chair for a second time. A complaint filed by democratic volunteers in January accused King County Democrats Chair Bailey Stober of harassment and mismanagement of funds.

He denies the allegations.

File: Sherman Alexie reads from his book, 'Thunder Boy Jr.,' at the RED INK Indigenous Initiative for All at Arizona State University, Tempe, April 22, 2016.
Flickr Photo/ASU Department of English (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/JmRvrM

Prominent Seattle writer Sherman Alexie on Wednesday addressed allegations that have rocked the literary world over the past few days: That he had sexually harassed numerous women.


Bailey Stober, former chair of the King County Democrats.
Facebook Photo/Bailey Stober

More than 85 people have signed a letter urging the chair of King County Democrats to resign.

The letter comes a month after a group of staff members filed a harassment complaint against chair Bailey Stober. He says the allegations are not true and that he plans to present evidence to support that.

A number of current and former staff accuse Stober of ongoing harassment, unprofessional conduct and lack of fiscal responsibility.

Photography darkroom
Flickr Photo/Shankar S. (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/jEYZCV

Kathy Sauber makes her living taking pictures. But these days she’s having trouble concentrating on her work.

On a recent shoot, when a client wanted a specific photo set-up that Sauber knew wasn’t going to produce good results, she could barely hold it together. She felt anxious, angry and slightly out of control.

Some of the most inappropriate behaviors at the office, in Americans' minds, are also the most common — yet almost no one admits to them, in a new poll on workplace behavior from NPR and Ipsos.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

The city of Seattle turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse against former Mayor Ed Murray, according to a new claim for damages filed by Murray’s former foster son.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, left, walks past his husband, Michael Shiosaki, center, and his attorney, Bob Sulkin, to make a statement to media members Friday, April 7, 2017, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

A man who accused former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of child sex abuse has died.

Delvonn Heckard was one of five men who last year accused Murray of sexually abusing them as teenagers.

Veteran Hollywood producer Jill Messick, who in recent months found herself caught in the middle of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has killed herself, her family said in a statement. She was 50.

Messick had been a manager for Rose McGowan in 1997, when the actress says Weinstein raped her — a charge that he has denied.

McGowan has been one of Weinstein's most vocal accusers and her public shaming of him helped bring other women with allegations to the forefront.

UPDATE (Feb. 6, 10:27 p.m. PST) — An investigation into behavior by Oregon Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, released Tuesday states Kruse had a pattern of "engaging in unwelcome physical contact toward females in the workplace."

Nearly a quarter century ago, a group of women accused a prominent playwright of sexual misconduct. A Boston newspaper published allegations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching and forced kissing. For the most part, the complaints went nowhere.

In 2017, more women came forward with accusations. This time, everybody listened.

On this episode of Hidden Brain, we explore the story through the lens of social science and ask, "Why Now?"

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