A top lawmaker in Massachusetts' House of Representative is accused of groping an incoming lawmaker, according to the Boston Globe.
Rep. Paul McMurtry, a Democrat from Dedham and a member of House Speaker Robert DeLeo's leadership team, allegedly grabbed the backside of an incoming legislator at an orientation cocktail hour last month for new lawmakers in the state, the Globe reported.
At the time of the alleged incident, McMurtry was the chairman of the House personnel committee.
DeLeo's communications director, Catherine Williams, told NBC10 Boston that four House members had told the speaker or his staff that they had heard secondhand reports of "inappropriate conduct" at the New Member Legislative Academy at UMass Amherst. She said all of those House members denied having firsthand knowledge of the incident and declined to identify anyone involved.
After hearing the first complaint on Dec. 19, Williams said DeLeo "immediately notified House Counsel."
"The Speaker's office was subsequently made aware on January 4, 2019, of a rumor conveyed by one member, by way of a second member, of a name that Matt Stout of the Boston Globe provided," Williams wrote in her statement, declining to name McMurtry.
Back in 2017, DeLeo announced a review of sexual harassment policies after 12 women told the Globe they had been sexually harassed at the State House. Since then, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg resigned after an ethics report concluded he had failed to protect the Senate from his husband, Bryon Hefner, who has been charged with sexual assault, criminal lewdness and distributing nude photos without consent.
McMurtry denied the allegations to the Globe and said that he welcomed an investigation. Without naming McMurtry, a spokesperson for DeLeo told the paper that an outside consultant, Cynthia Farquhar, had deemed an allegation to be plausible, adding that an ad hoc legislative committee would investigate.