- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate reviewed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Paul LeVota after two college students abruptly left their internships at his office, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the investigation, said the Senate’s investigation focused on an intern’s sexual harassment complaint. The details of the investigation had so far been kept largely secret.

LeVota has previously said only that the Senate was investigating after the interns’ departures.

He did not directly answer repeated questions about the nature of the investigation on Friday. He instead commented on a closed-door Senate Administration Committee meeting held Thursday that included a briefing by an attorney hired to help with a “workplace harassment complaint.”

“I didn’t know there was a meeting,” said LeVota, a Democrat from Independence. “I don’t know what the report said, any of that stuff.”

The committee voted unanimously to close the briefing with the attorney to the public. But Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said after the meeting that he plans to release a report next week, including the attorney’s findings, the results of the internal Senate investigation and a statement on the matter.

The investigation came after two University of Central Missouri students left early from an internship for LeVota during the legislative session that ended in May. LeVota said in an earlier statement that his staff was notified that the interns left after about a month and a half of the session - which began in January - because they “were needed back at school to work on other projects.”

LeVota later told AP the investigation was focused on the interns’ departure.

Members of the Senate Administration Committee declined to comment to the AP on Friday about the extent of the investigation or did not return calls seeking comment.


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