Senate President Pro Temp: The Legislature is still a safe place to work

In an updated article from the Associated Press (At the Rapid City Journal), Senate President Pro Temp Bob Gray says that despite all the attention of a second incident of legislative page abuse, the legislature is still a safe place to work:

Senate President Pro Tem Bob Gray, R-Pierre, said even though both cases involved pages -- high school students who run errands for lawmakers -- the Legislature is not a dangerous place for young people to work.

"If I were a parent, would this give me pause? Perhaps. What I would tell parents is this is a good program," Gray said.

The Legislature this year took steps to make the page program safer by making sure the students are staying in appropriate accommodations, Gray said.

Lawmakers, pages and other legislative employees generally work hard and stay out of trouble, Gray said. "Evidently, there are some bad people there from time to time."

Read it all here.

If you think about it, in both cases, the first being the incident of Dan Sutton and the page who shared his bed, and now the Klaudt case, they're not so much cases of abusing employees. In both instances, there were close family associations.

Not that it's going to matter to the public as a whole.


Yup, I'm reassured. It's only those who know, or are related to, or come into contact with legislators who need to beware of their behavior.
jack said…
As an officer of the legislature, Bob Gray has a responsibility to ensure that the pages and employees of the legislature are safe. For him to say that there are no problems, that it's "a good program" and to not even acknowledge that a thorough investigation into what went wrong is warranted is breath taking.

In the post below, you note that the Speaker of the House is representing his "friend" Ted Klaudt in court, and the President Pro Temp is saying that there isn't a problem.

Leadership has shown a clear concern about Ted Klaudt's well being, and have done nothing to ensure that pages -- and future pages -- are safe while providing a valuable service to the elected officials they serve.

Those priorities are so far out of whack it's bizarre. Any reasonable person would put the safety of those kids first and foremost -- ahead of pretending that their oversight over the page program was adequate, and ahead of a desire to help someone they served with in the legislature.

The responses from the Speaker and President Pro Temp are shocking. Really.
Anonymous said…
The hubris of the republican leadership of legislature is stunning. Maybe it is time for a change in Pierre. By the way, I am a card carrying republican. But these events are going to make me a RINO in no time.
Ike said…
11:55 - if you switch to RINO because of this ... then you are already a RINO. During the Sutton affair, the Dem Leadership showed their incredible blind-eye. This sort of situation is so hard to imagine.

The Legislature is a safe place to work. Pages & Interns have nothing to fear from the legislators. What we had is two people who recruited pages and had them live with them during session. In one case, a parent approved it. In the second case, the guardian was the abuser.

Living with a legislator is not typical and I don't think it's even allowed after Sutton.

If the charging document is proved to be correct, this abuse was occurring far before session. Just because this sick & twisted behavior carried over into session should not harm the page program.
Bob Gray said…
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me be very clear. I think what Ted Klaudt did was horrendous and I am sickened by it. I am certainly glad he is not part of the Senate. Jack, to allege that I care anything about Ted Klaudt is completely false. I do not even know him. I have been very clear to anyone who asks that I think this is horrible.

I have been in the Senate for three years and have served with many good people and have met a number of great pages and interns in that time. I do believe it is a good program.

My point to the press has been that this should not be an indictment of the Legislature or the page program. This was a case of a guardian preying on kids under his watch. I don't think it's right to make a blanket statement that the entire Legislature is at fault or is unsafe. This isn't about the Legislature - it's about an individual. Perhaps it's easy to point fingers at a political body, but I think we need to remember where the responsibility of these acts really lie. I have also said repeatedly that I think it is completely inappropriate for a page to stay with a legislator. The Executive Board took steps last Fall to make sure that does not happen again. Ike.. I think you summed it up pretty well.

Having said all that, as a leader in the Senate and the person now responsible for appointing pages, I will work very hard to make sure that all of our employees work in a safe environment.

This truly is terrible. But to blame me or the Legislature in general is completely off base.

Bob Gray
alberta said…
Knock off the use of pseudonyms.
Anonymous said…
It's "President Pro Tem".

Anonymous said…
Which is short for tempore....
jack said…
Bob --

I'm appreciative that you finally acknowledge that something should be done to ensure the safety of the page program. It's too bad that your first response to the media was less defensive and more proactive.

I'm not saying it was your fault that this woman was raped. It was shocking to me, however, that your immediate response was to say that the legislature was not blame and that everything is OK. You seem more concerned about avoiding blame than addressing this serious problem. It was even more shocking to me that the Speaker's first response was to make sure his "friend" received good legal respresentation. This is the second major incident regarding pages to be reported in a year. These kids are your responsibility, and I don't think you're taking it very seriously.

The fact that your first instinct was to defend the legislature's lack of oversight on pages, rather than to vow that this never happens again is shocking.

At least two kids have been molested. That's a problem. To say that the leadership of the legislature isn't to blame, and to infer that everything is OK is irresponsible.

You, obviously, shouldn't say that what happened to those girls was your fault. It wasn't. But leadership means taking responsibility and vowing to solve it. The leadership in the House and Senate seems more interested in passing the buck, and protecting Klaudt than taking action to protect our kids. That's what I have a problem with.

The buck obviously doesn't stop with you, Bob. It obviously doesn't stop with Deadrick. Where, exactly, doesn't it stop?
Anonymous said…
What are you saying exactly, Jack?

Do you want the legislators to come out and say they oppose sexual assault? Those who abuse minors should go to jail? Do you want them to pander on this horrible situation????????

Get a grip. Loose your false indignity. The prosecutorial arm of our government is going to ensure that Ted K. is going to spend probably the rest of his unhealthy life in jail.

Are you asking for resignations? That's what I get from you or am I mistaken? Gray and Knudson voted to expel Sutton. Do you think they would take a pass if they were judge/jury Klaudt matter...

Who do you want gone, Jack. Why?
Anonymous said…
Jack Billion?
Anonymous said…
Although it's hard to believe Gray doesn't even know Klaudt, since they were in the Legislature together for 2 years, these incidents happened in 05 or 06 before Gray was Pres Pro Tem. If you were a Legislator and your foster child was a page, wouldn't it be logical for them to stay with you? Of course they probably couldn't any more, since the Sutton hearings.
Anonymous said…
I have an idea for a t-shirt, PP. A big picture of Ted's smiling face, and WWTD? (what would Ted do?).
Anonymous said…
I agree. It's not that it's leadership's fault, but their "pass the buck/protect the criminal/everything's OK" mentality is disheartening.
Anonymous said…
Protect the criminal? What? This man is going to 20+years. If there was more w/Sutton we can assume he would have been charged, and as the case was, shame was all that could be gotten and it was gotten good.
Anonymous said…
From a factual standpoint, it's worth reading the attorney general's affidavit. The timeline he outlines there clearly shows the patterns of alleged crimes were under way well before the 2005 or 2006 legislative session. That they allegedly continued during the sessions with some of the same people was part of the same behavior. This situation points out the difficulties in writing any sort of regulations on legislator interaction with pages and interns. Normally you would think that a foster parent could be trusted. Likewise for a grandparent or step-parent or relative. Maybe the DCI dorms could be reserved for page use during legislative session, or a block of rooms at a local motel, with a page advisor there during non-legislative hours serving much the way an R.A. supervises a floor at a college dorm.
Anonymous said…
I know things have changed since I was a page (30 years ago) but contact between Pages and Legislators out side of the Capitol was nil. More of a concern was contact between Interns and Pages.
A Reagan Republican said…
This is the time the 11th Commandment needs to be employed diligently, and I am proud so many of Ted's friends are coming forward to publicly declare their loyalty to him. This is the true test of a friend. The Speaker of the House Ted Deadrick is truly a profile in courage providing legal aid in the face of political hooey that his position as Speaker presents a conflict of interest. And witnessing Rep. Jim Putnum embrace Ted in his hour of need is encouraging. This persecution of a True Soldier for Life is obviously the product of a grudge against Ted by liberal elements in our great party.

If we are to learn anything from this it's that we can not afford to expose our unity to an attack from within by elements of so-called moderates and liberals. First it's Roger Hunt, and now Ted Klaudt's on the list.

Who's next? Who IS next?
Stan Adelstein said…
"A former Regan Republican," does not know much about Ronald Reagan. In his administration as in Eisenhower's law breakers were - and should have been destroyed regardless of party.

To be a friend of pervert, and organizer of the extreme right wing of the party - just because he has falsely run as a Republican proves the point that some in our party will embrace anyone and anything, providing that that evil person will support their attempt to impose their specific religious belief(s) on everyone. Anyone is OK if they want to discriminate against women who have been raped - even if that person is a rapist!!

Klaudt is the tip of a sickening social/political network. His "peanut caucus," (which I never attended - nor was invited in my six years in the Legislature - nor would have gone had I been) organized votes against EVERY Republican value of respect for the individual and protection against the government's intervention into an individual's choices. They owned the Majority Leader, and I am sad to see that the Speaker may be theirs' as well. They frightened other legislators whom they promised to prevent re-election.

Enough were so anxious to get back to what they saw as "power" that they went along - even if they disagreed.

I did not, and they kept their promise my nominating an extremist, one issue, poorly informed opponent against me in the Republican primary, and then dishonestly attacking me day by day in the press and radio. Ted Klaudt was on the talk show from Spearfish nearly daily with his buddies Apa and Napoli. Even with all of that, they only beat me by less than 180 votes - far fewer than Klaudt lost by and barely more than Napoli's plurality.

Recruiting opposition against a sitting, elected 75 year old REPUBLICAN that had been a REPUBLICAN almost more years than some of them had been born. Some following of the "Reagan 11th commandment.

Now is the time to take our party back. Klaudt will - hopefully - spend the rest of his life in prison (without the counseling that he helped kill on the appropriation committee). All those who shared his caucus should be turned out - and if in a position of leadership, asked to resign from leadership in the next legislature.

Former REPUBLICAN State Senator from District 32
weez said…
who shared his caucus, stan? how 'bout naming names?
Anonymous said…
Poster 12:43
The so called Regan Republican


Did you fall and hit your head on the cement?
Okay made it a few more questions!

It might be okay to be a supportive friend and i would think that friend would have to be a real good friend for many years and maybe a friend who might have hung out with Ted K's family.

I think as a friend I might say what in the blue blazes is going on to him or a few other things.

Do you really think this is something that the whole Republican Party should endorse... support Ted K at any cost???
Yes he deserves a fair trial, but it seems to me he has stated his guilt.

Does anybody else agree with some of my statements that could have gotten a lot longer???
ps: i did NOT proof this.
Anonymous said…
Oh Stan we are sooooo glad to see you gone! You are NOT a Republican--never were--still aren't!
Stan Adelstein said…
I wish "annie mouse" who filed at 8:41 had the simple courage, or honesty to give a name - as I have.

Oh well, he/she/it obviously does not know what a REPUBLICAN us.

Mouse - look up on my web page, or better still the SD Republican party from 1960 to 1975 what I did as a REPUBLICAN.

And, by the way -- I WILL be back!!
Anonymous said…
Stan, if it is Stan: who is 8:41 i don't see a 8:41???????

I wish "annie mouse" who filed at 8:41 had the simple courage, or honesty to give a name - as I have.
Anonymous said…
People are Republicans for many different reasons. Depending on the person, the reason could be that the party is pro-life, pro-business, pro-limited-gov, pro-individual responsibility, pro-low-tax, etc. Just because someone does not align with the party in one or a few of these categories (or others) does not mean the person "is not a Republican."

Specifically considering abortion, Republicans shouldn't forget this or we're going to lose a lot of our "Libertarian-Republican-don't-mess-with-my-rights" folks from out west.
Stan Adelstein said…
Sorry - the timid mouse was 8:44 - the "1"and "4' are both in the first column - and I hit the wrong one.

Yes, indeed, it is me Stan Adelstein from Rapid City -- so beloved by this Blog.
rich engels said…
The public could be assured that the legislature is a safe place to work if we put some teeth into our self-regulation. The SD legislature has no code of ethics and no ethics committees. I was one of the sponsors in 2007 of SB 169, a bi-partisan bill which would have created both.

The bill made it through the senate in amended form. Sadly, the House state affairs committee killed SB 169 on a party line vote. Yes, all Republicans on the committee voted to kill the bill & all Democrats voted to pass the bill.

The comments of those legislators voting to kill the bill really need to be heard to be believed. For instance, it was claimed that creating an ethics code would imply that we have problems, and we don't have any problems. Fortunately, these comments are archived on the legislative website where they will likely haunt those committee members with dreams of higher office.

At the May meeting of the Legislature's executive board, I made a motion to approve a summer study to develop a legislative ethics code. That motion was defeated on a voice vote. Rest assured, the issue will come up again in the 2008 legislature.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for califying Stan!
I just wanted to be sure which post you were using.

teddy bare said…
So Stanley, you say Klaudt "falsely ran as a Republican" since he is against abortion and you are a true republican since you support the"right" to kill pre-born children? So what party should Ted have run under? Have you ever read the GOP or Dem platforms?? The GOP has always been pro-life and the Dems pro-death. You are a mixed up old man. You will never get elected again. And the vote totals you compare are for your PRIMARY versus their GENERALS, a big difference!
Anonymous said…

Explain how a code of ethics could have prevented this? Or how anything would be handled differently now.

I'm certain that in both this case, and the Sutton case, nothing different would have happened.

We have those other pesky things called laws. Why do we need a code of ethics too? If you're the type of person who's going to do something that dumb, how would a code of ethics stop you?

It's just something else for the minority to complain about.
rich engels said…

It takes a bold person to be against ethics. Vote your conscience when that bill comes up next year.
Anonymous said…
That sure answered his question, didn't it, Rich?

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