Another Missouri legislative intern's experience reported to be under investigation | St. Louis Public Radio

Another Missouri legislative intern's experience reported to be under investigation

May 21, 2015

An investigation by the Missouri Senate and the University of Central Missouri appears to be underway into whether there was inappropriate treatment of another Missouri legislative intern, although there has been no official confirmation.

Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence
Credit Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

According to a story published Thursday by the Columbia Daily Tribune, the investigation surrounds the abrupt departure of an unnamed intern who worked in the office of state Sen. Paul LeVota, D-Independence.  The report does not say, though, whether LeVota or someone else who "works in or frequents his office" was the subject of the investigation.

Senate Administrator Marga Holscher refused to confirm to St. Louis Public Radio whether a Title IX investigation is underway and would otherwise provide no comment.

LeVota provided the following written statement to St. Louis Public Radio:

"Recently, the Missouri Capitol was buzzing about the Speaker of the House and his relationship with an intern. There have been unconfirmed rumors about the interns in the Missouri Senate program and other interns in the Missouri House. I understand the need for universities to look into rumors, even unsubstantiated rumors.  I would be open to any university taking a further look at the experience of any of my legislative interns. I had the honor of working with five students from several universities across the state this spring.

"This session, after a month and a half, my chief of staff was notified by e-mail that the male and female interns from UCM for my office were needed back at school to work on other projects. I was never informed by the university, or by either intern, of any issues they experienced other than that. I had no reason to doubt what the university said in that e-mail and still have no reason to doubt that. And as of today, I have still never been informed by any intern or staff member of any incidents at all. The remaining three interns assigned to my office had a great experience and finished the session. None have voiced any issues in their internship, nor any report that either of the UCM interns had any problems.

"This is my 11th year in the Missouri Capitol and I have had an amazing experience with the intern program with students from across the state over that decade with no problems at all. Now with the recent climate, rumors and speculation abound and I am upset that any of these young people that come to experience the legislative process would be subject to sensationalism."

How interns are treated in the state Capitol is getting closer scrutiny since John Diehl resigned as House Speaker after his sexually charged text messages with an intern became public.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport