Sexual harassment claim against Sen. David Shafer dismissed

The Senate Ethics Committee has dismissed a sexual harassment complaint lodged against a candidate for Lt. Governor.

The dismissal came one day after our FOX 5 I-Team reported the outside investigation of the allegations favored Sen. David Shafer’s version of events.

"As I’ve said from the beginning these allegations are false," Shafer said today.

State Senator David Shafer said he is happy his name has been cleared and he has a strong opinion on what motivated the accusations.

"The complaint was filed the day after I qualified for Lt. governor, I think the political motive has been obvious from the beginning.

FOX 5 I-Team reported in early March that a female lobbyist filed a sexual harassment complaint against Sen. Shafer claiming he sexually harassed her while she was trying to get a bill passed in the Senate.

The lobbyist’s complaint states that Shafer told her "you owe me" and to "show me your boobs" The lobbyist contends it ended with Shafer telling her she didn't have to have sex, but he wanted to "spoon naked. I just want to see you naked."

The Senate ethics committee appointed an outside attorney to investigate. We watched yesterday as Senators spent hours behind closed doors pouring over the 58-page report, full of dozens of interviews.

We've obtained a copy of that report that concluded - it is "more likely that Sen. Shafer did not make sexually harassing comments and demands." The report also concluded it is also more likely the lobbyist "fabricated her allegations of sexually harassing conduct"

Jennifer Little was Sen. Shafer's attorney during the investigation.

"Politics has hit another low today because this complaint is nothing more than a pure smear campaign, said Little.

Investigator Penn Payne, found 7 witnesses, including three legislators, who told her the lobbyist had told the story of sexual harassment as early as 2011, but there was no corroborating evidence. No texts, emails, or eyewitnesses.

"There is no question she has been unhappy with me for 5-6 years because I've taken a position opposed to one of her clients," said Shafer.

But the investigator also found the lobbyist had been untruthful about whether she had dated David Shafer some 15 years earlier. The lobbyist denied it, but Shafer produced 5 witnesses who said they dated.

Investigator Payne concluded the lobbyist "lied" about the relationship "casting doubt on her credibility and the truthfulness of her allegations." 

With that, the Ethics Committee "failed to find credible evidence of sexual harassment" and dismissed the complaint.

"I knew the deeper that you dug the more likely that I'd be exonerated. And, that's what happened," said Shafer.

This was the first complaint filed under new sexual harassment rules in the Georgia legislature that now includes lobbyists. Sen. Shafer and his attorney Jennifer Little both said these allegations have taken away from the suffering of actual victims of sexual harassment.

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