SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 4, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Longtime Utah Sen. Gene Davis has been suspended from attending any Salt Lake County Democratic Party events following allegations he harassed a legislative intern.
Party Chairwoman Eva Lopez says she recently learned that an intern for Davis, D-Salt Lake City, during the 2022 Utah Legislature “felt unsafe, harassed and ultimately failed by the Salt Lake County Democratic Party and leaders of the party.”
“The Salt Lake County Democratic Party does not tolerate any impermissible behavior, sexual misconduct of any nature, physical or verbal violence, and all violations that perpetuate unsafe environments,” Lopez said in a statement Thursday. “No one should be fearful to participate in our party, especially to be an intern for a longstanding senator.”
Lopez said the Salt Lake County Democratic Party’s anti-harassment policy gives her the authority to suspend Davis from participating in any party-related events, committees and activities.
Davis, who has served in the Utah Senate since 1999, is completing his final year in office after being defeated by Nate Blouin in the June 28 primary election. Davis previously served in the Utah House from 1987 to 1998.
Sonia Weglinski, who interned for Davis during the Jan. 18-March 4 legislative session, wrote about her experiences with the state senator in an eight-part Instagram post Wednesday.
“I developed a close yet professional relationship with my legislator. However, those professional lines soon became blurred, and I did not realize it nor truly accepted it until months later,” the post states.
“He would put his arm around my waist. He would play with my toes when I sat down on his office reclining couch. He would constantly invade my physical boundaries.”
Weglinski later accepted a job working on Davis’ campaign, she writes, and was with the senator on his porch May 10 taking campaign photos and videos.
“After I had stopped recording and stood up, Gene pointed and told me I had dirt on my butt. I shrugged and told him it was fine; I tried to wipe it off as best as I could,” the post states.
After going inside the house, Weglinski said Davis left the room, then returned with a small towel and told her to “get up.”
“He asks me, ‘Do you want me to wipe the dirt off your butt?’ Taken aback by how blatantly inappropriate this question was, I told him, ‘No.’ He then asks me again, ‘Are you sure?’ I repeat firmly, ‘No, I’m fine.’
“Before I could sit back down, he takes his towel and starts wiping down my butt. I was in complete shock. After he was done, he looked me in the eye and asked, ‘Did that make you uncomfortable?’ I did not know what to say to him. I don’t even remember what I said to him,” the post states.
Weglinski also recounts talking about the incident with Davis’ campaign manager, who responded by saying “that he still believes Gene is a better candidate and is needed at the Capitol.”
Lopez said any cases of misconduct can be reported to the party’s Judicial Committee at [email protected]
“If a complaint has been submitted, I have full confidence that our Judicial Committee will complete a swift and thorough investigation into any allegations,” she said. “If and when such an investigation is conducted, the Judicial Committee will offer a space to victims that does not compromise their right to privacy and determine necessary remedial action.”
Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.