Sutton page allegations go national
Yahoo is featuring this AP story by Chet Brokaw on their front page at the moment I'm writing this:
While the U.S. House investigates ex-Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record)'s sexually explicit instant messages to former Capitol Hill staffers, South Dakota is dealing with its own page scandal.Read it all here.
The Senate is scheduled to convene in a special session Nov. 27 to look into allegations that Sen. Dan Sutton, a Democrat from the eastern town of Flandreau, "sexually groped" an 18-year-old page in this year's legislative session.
After hearing evidence, the Senate could take actions ranging from imposing no punishment up to expelling Sutton, a 36-year-old insurance agent.
Sutton, who is seeking re-election, has not responded publicly to the allegations, but his lawyer, Mike Butler, has said Sutton has done nothing wrong and will not resign. He pointed out that state investigators have not filed criminal charges.
However, Senate leaders said they have a responsibility to determine whether legislative rules were broken and to make sure pages, who are high school students who run errands for lawmakers, are safe.
"The Senate's interest is finding out what, if anything, happened to one of the students who were entrusted to us and how to ensure it's not going to happen in the future with the next group of kids coming in January," said Republican Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, president pro tem of the Senate. "It's completely separate from any criminal investigation."