- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A former Kentucky lawmaker and the former head of the Legislative Research Commission made payments to settle sexual harassment and hostile workplace lawsuits from three female legislative staffers.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (https://bit.ly/1I74Df8) House Speaker Greg Stumbo on Monday revealed the payments by John Arnold, a former Democratic representative from Sturgis, and Robert Sherman. Stumbo said he does not know how much each man paid.

The payments are in addition to a $400,000 settlement from the legislature to be split among Yolanda Costner, Cassaundra Cooper and Nicole Cusic.

Costner and Cooper were both aides to Democratic House leadership when they sued Arnold, claiming he touched them inappropriately. They also sued the Legislative Research Commission, then headed by Sherman, for not doing enough to protect them.

Costner later said Democratic House Majority Whip Johnny Bell fired her in retaliation for filing the lawsuit.

In a separate lawsuit, Cusic said she was demoted after complaining that Democratic state Rep. Will Coursey sexually harassed some female staffers.

Lawmakers have pledged to make the settlement document public, but it’s not clear if agreements with Sherman and Arnold will be made public. Both have resigned from their government posts.

Sherman was not available for comment; Arnold’s attorney did not return a call to the newspaper.

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who represented the women, said he could not comment on Arnold and Sherman, “consistent with the agreement in mediation.”

___

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, https://www.kentucky.com

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