Panel votes for censure 6-3. Wednesday looks to be the day.

I kind of slacked off yesterday because I had a daughter with a birthday, and it was more important to spend time with the kids than to debate whether or not censure is sufficient for the offense of a State Senator sharing a bed with a young male employee.

But now that I'm back, here are the statements that the Argus had from Senators involved in the procedure:
Sens. Dave Knudson, R-Sioux Falls, Bob Gray, R-Fort Pierre, and Kenneth McNenny, R-Sturgis, voted against the motion to censure Sutton. The three said they were convinced by the evidence that Sutton's actions with the page merited expulsion.

"I cannot personally find censure an adequate remedy," said Knudson, chairman of the committee.

and...

"I am willing to say that ought not to have been done," said Sen. Nancy Turbak, D-Watertown. "So I would agree that Sen. Sutton should be censured for inappropriate conduct, or the appearance of impropriety."Turbak argued that expulsion should only occur if there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Sutton groped Wiese.

and...

"One of them was lying. I don't know which one," Abdallah said.

But the fact that Sutton shared a bed with Wiese was "improper," Abdallah said, and "he should be taken to task for that."

and finally...

Gray agreed. "I believe that's inappropriate for any of us. Period."
Read all of the article here. So what do you think - given the evidence presented, is censure adequate? Or should they be held to a higher standard, which requires a harsher penalty?

Wednesday is reportedly the day when it will be taken up by the full Senate.

May God have mercy on all of their souls. Because the image of the legislature will be tainted for years as a result of all of this mess. And expulsion or censure will not change the fact that they only have Senator Sutton to blame for sharing his bed.

I would concur with many people writing in this matter that yes, some of the testimony (such as hiding notes behind furniture) struck me as nutty. But that is only a distraction to the base fact which is not in dispute - The Senator shared his bed with a male high school student who was here in Pierre in an employment capacity.

The rest is "theater of the absurd" that needs to be ignores, leaving only the truth to be focused on. Does sharing a bed with an employee in that manner rise to an offense worthy of expulsion?

If he were a teacher or a coach, would he (or should he) be fired for doing the same? Once you answer that question, the next one you need to ask is whether or not the office should be held in equal esteem.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I hope the senate carefully and respectfully considers the committee's recomendation, then expells Sutton anyway.

He's an embarassment to District 8, and especially to Flandreau.
Anonymous said…
I think that given a few days to realize the deception of Sutton's story and the facts that Sutton now has more victims, I believe the Senators need to reject the majority and see this through to an expulsion.

If Sutton did any of the things he did most of them. The fact that he covered it all up in a grandeous conspiracy theory while tearing down good young people means he is willing to do anything to cover up his problems.

I think that some will say due process was not afforded and certainly this hearing went far beyond a court system. It now appears that the victim(s) were the ones denied due process.
Anonymous said…
This will be the first of many. There are legislators who sleep with interns and do far more than "grope".

Everyone would be shocked at who would have been expelled if the legislature had wanted to expel members for this. I could name names, but anybody involved in politics in the past 20 years already knows the names. None were expelled or even censured.
Anonymous said…
"May God have mercy on all of their souls. Because the image of the legislature will be tainted for years as a result of all of this mess."

No it won't. Take some deep breaths, PP. Maybe a few legislators have tainted thier image (like Schoenbeck). Maybe people think the hearing was poorly run. But you have WAAAYYY overstated this.
Anonymous said…
10:30

I agree with you. As McMahon said, at least they looked into it. This group has spent decades protecting perpetrators reputations at the expense of the victims. There haven't been as many as some suggest but there are some all the time.

I thought it odd that the Dems protected their own but were outraged over other 'scandals'.

I am not sure what the Governor meant when he stated that they used to take care of it more discreetly or whatever words he used. It is apparent to all that the South Dakota Legislature needs more ethics and discovery. They need to protect all who are abused. They can do this not just through legislation but through legislative oversight of their own body.

All in all, I think South Dakota turned a new corner and a positive one and all of it thanks to one hell of a brave young 18 year old. May God bless his sole and that of his friends that stepped up to the plate to protect others now and in the future.
anneme said…
I hope that the Senate goes with the recommendation and censures Sutton. To me there is not enough evidence to do anything else. I do not view the victim's testimony as credible. I feel that he should be in trouble for sleeping in the same bed, but in my mind from the evidence presented his guilt cannot be proven. I hope like hell if he is guilty then they do expel him, I just dont personally feel there was enough evidence to prove much of anything. The hiding of notes was very peculiar to me. I also was confused as to why the DCI agent was entering the word penis into the transcript where you could clearly hear that it was not said. Plus some of the other witnesses just didn't seem to be convinced themselves that he was guilty. I wish the best to all involved that they may move on from this mess and that the result is something that answers what truly happened in that motel room. No one but Senator Sutton and the victim will ever know what really happened.
Anonymous said…
10:11-

I have been involved in state politics for the last 20 years, and still am.

I have no idea who you're talking about. It's unsubstantiated rumors like that one, that gives the 99% of the hard-working legislators a bad rap due to the renegade 1%.
Anonymous said…
If as Sen Gray would seem to say getting in the same bed w/a page is enough for expulsion then how about being intoxicated while on the floor of the Senate? Driving drunk to and from session? How about sleeping w/Lobbyists, government employees and other legislators? How about using illegal drugs? Certainly under the same bed theory all of these would likely warrant removal.

Let the expulsions begin!
Anonymous said…
I agree The Senate will be having many of these hearings taking place this will not be the last. I hope that if they vote to expel Senator Sutton they all have clean pasts because all it takes to get to have to endure what Senator Sutton just went through is an "allegation" that does not have to be proven "beyond reasonable doubt"
Anonymous said…
Heck, the Sahr and Sutton "allegations" are minor compared to some of the juicy rumors that circulate each session. Hopefully, the next sessions will be later at nights so I can watch them after my kids go to bed, turn the lights down, a little wine, rrrrrrrr!
PP said…
guys, let's attempt to keep it to opinion or accepted fact.
Anonymous said…
Anon 7:58:

shouldn't those be the criteria? Or are they above the law and their employers--the people who have to live with the laws that the pass.

Once again, power overrules good and therefore our democracy is doomed.
Anonymous said…
No way in the history of the South Dakota legislature was this a freak instance.

C'mon, given that the Legislature has been and is dominated by men for a long time, that there were ZERO instances of a Senator/Rep making a few grabs at pretty young female pages?
Anonymous said…
My vote would be to expell. As a parent of a high schooler - if my son's coach would have done this - i would fight to have him fired.

Same situation. Different employer.
Anonymous said…
Sutton should be fired from the South Dakota Senaate. The Senate
should send a clear message that such conduct will not be tolerated.
Nancy Turback, another lawyer, looks at it from a legal view when it is a moral issue. We don't need people like that in Pierre.
Anonymous said…
Sutton isn't guilty of anything more than being naive. He was naive to allow Austin to stay in his bed. However, last time I checked being naive does not constitute guilt. He says he is not guilty and I believe him. God knows the so-called "evidence" in this case didn't prove more than that.
stevey wonder said…
I think the embarassment would be to believe Austin wiese when he dirrectly lied in the face of the elected officals about his extra activitys come on if you believe this young adult please don't ever try to represent any state or local office because this could be disaterast to your comunity this youngster couldn't even tell the truth being under oath.
PP said…
2:46 - that type of name calling is over the line.
Anonymous said…
9:24

Were you there in the room? Because unless you were, you don't really know what happened. None of us does. I think he's guilty but in the end I don't know for sure either.

Only 2 people know what happened that night.

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