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KDE lobbyist out after sexual harassment allegation

The Capitol building in Frankfort | Photo by Olivia Krauth

Kentucky Department of Education’s director of government relations Brad Montell is no longer with the department after he was accused of sexual harassment, according to a department spokeswoman.

Montell was one of several current or former Kentucky lawmakers named in a sexual harassment deposition focusing on Rep. Jeff Hoover. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting obtained and reported on a copy of the sealed deposition late Tuesday night, detailing the allegations.

According to KyCIR, Jane Doe, a former GOP staffer, asked then-representative Montell to donate to a political candidate. He said he “would only donate if (Doe) sat in his lap and signed the checks for him.”

Brad Montell | Courtesy LRC

The KDE spokeswoman confirmed Montell was no longer employed but did not give additional details. 

A seven-term representative from Shelby County, Montell resigned from his House seat in 2016 to become the deputy secretary of the education cabinet. Montell began as the top lobbyist for the state education department in September.

KyCIR’s report focuses on a stream of allegations mainly against Hoover, who resigned as Speaker of the House in Jan. 2018 after initial allegations of inappropriate text messages surfaced. According to the deposition, Doe said his harassment went further than that, including “nearly daily touching.”

Rep. Michael Meredith, the other lawmaker mentioned in the deposition that is still in the legislature, allegedly screamed vulgar statements at Doe, according to KyCIR, including “begging” her to have sex with him.

Hoover’s attorney told KyCIR they would not comment. Meredith and Montell could not be reached for comment by KyCIR reporters.

Wednesday morning, the Kentucky Democratic Party asked Hoover and Meredith to resign due to the further allegations.

“Screaming at female staffers in public, demanding sexual favors, and harassing women repeatedly cannot be tolerated,” the statement said. “The behavior described by the woman they targeted and other witnesses is horrifying.”

Hoover and Meredith won their re-elections in November.

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