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Kentucky House Republicans Fire Sexual Harassment Whistleblower

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Republican leaders of the Kentucky House of Representatives have fired a staffer who last year claimed she was punished for reporting that lawmakers had sexually harassed her colleague.

Daisy Olivo was the communications director for the House Republican caucus. Nearly a year ago she filed a lawsuit alleging she had been punished for sounding the alarm on an inappropriate relationship between then-House Speaker Jeff Hoover and a staffer.

Olivo’s attorney, Shane Sidebottom, said that she wasn’t given an explanation for her dismissal on Friday.

“Nothing was said. The security showed up at her office and they walked her out of the door today,” Sidebottom said.

House Republican leaders did not return a request for comment on Friday.

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Olivo’s firing is the latest development in a sexual harassment scandal that has preoccupied Frankfort over the last year.

Hoover and three other Republicans secretly signed an out-of-court settlement with another member of the House Republican communications office, who claimed she had been sexually harassed by the men.

As part of the arrangement, the lawmakers paid the woman $110,000 and all parties signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Olivo filed a whistleblower lawsuit last year, claiming she had been frozen out of her job for reporting the “inappropriate sexual relationship” between Hoover and the woman who brought forth the harassment claims.

Sidebottom said that Olivo’s firing might factor into the whistleblower case.

“The whole purpose of a whistleblower is to bring claims of retaliation for misconduct or any inappropriate thing,” Sidebottom said.

“Obviously, we’re going to talk and think about this, but it seems to be a continuing pattern of retaliation.”

Olivo’s attorneys have beenfighting to release a deposition taken from the lawmakers’ accuser that includes allegations that she was sexually assaulted by Hoover.

Hoover and two of the other accused lawmakers have been fighting to keep parts of the testimony sealed.

Olivo’s firing comes one day after the House Republican selected a new set of leaders, including the nomination of Rep. David Osborne to be Speaker of the House.

Osborne has been the acting speaker of the House since Hoover resigned, though the chamber never formally voted to replace him.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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