PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — Rhode Island’s House speaker says he plans to create an office to investigate allegations of sexual harassment in the state legislature.
Democrat Nicholas Mattiello told WPRO-AM on Wednesday it’s “a little bit of a waste of resources” to hire an investigator when there’s “very few problems,” but everyone should be as protected as they can be and he won’t tolerate harassment.
Mattiello has said he’s working on legislation with Rep. Chris Blazejewski, creating a formal procedure for handling harassment allegations.
In October, WPRI 12 reported on a months-old email to Mattiello in which a lawmaker accused another lawmaker of harassment. Some criticized Mattiello for not doing more to address it.
Mattiello told WPRO he doesn’t want complaints to have to come to him, and the new office takes politics out of it.
State Sen. Sam Bell, D-Providence, questioned whether the speaker should have the power to appoint the individual who will investigate harassment, as well as whether the same person would have authority over the Senate.