MOORE, Okla. — A Moore lawmaker was caught discussing an ongoing sexual misconduct investigation on live video ahead of a press conference.
Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, can be heard on a microphone talking to Rep. Scott Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee, about the investigation before Gov. Kevin Stitt’s budget press conference held at the capitol Monday. The video was recorded by News Channel 9’s Facebook Live feed.
The men were criticized for the conversation about an incident involving Reps. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma, and Kevin McDugle, R-Tulsa. Al Gerhart of the Sooner Tea Party claimed Kannady inappropriately touched the leg of a female state representative under a table a few years ago.
Gerhart also accused McDugle of showing the woman, who has not come forward, a pornographic video during the incident while the group was sitting in a booth. Kannady has so far declined to comment.
In the video, Fetgatter begins discussing his various responsibilities as a legislator with McBride near the podium. He mentions the investigation into Kannady, which is now being conducted by special counsel, according to the Tulsa World.
Upon hearing Fetgatter say he is involved, McBride asks, “So you molested this girl after Kannady did?”
Fetgatter replies, “No, I was at the table, so I allowed it.”
McBride then responds, “You allowed it to happen. You knew it was all going on. Wow.”
McBride continues, “You sure it wasn’t a donkey or a goat?” to which Fetgatter responds, “I’m not sure it wasn’t. Quite frankly, to be quite honest with you, I don’t even recall the event. I don’t recall a video.”
Fetgatter said he did not intend to joke about or sarcastically dismiss sexual assault and that he hopes the investigation is completed quickly. He issued a statement, saying his comments were “taken out of context and were only in response to a question directed toward me.
“I apologize if my remarks in any way trivialized the serious nature of sexual assault,” Fetgatter said. “To be clear I have never seen anything inappropriate happen or sexual harassment occur during my time in the House of Representatives. I hope this investigation, which is routine when an HR complaint is filed, is settled quickly so that reputations of the innocent are preserved.”
A message left for McBride on his cell phone Tuesday afternoon was not returned as of press time.
Cyndi Ralston, who ran as a Democrat against Republican incumbent McDugle in the 2018 House District 12 race, posted a clip of the video to her Twitter page. In her mind, Fetgatter is admitting that some incident occurred.
“When I heard that, I was like, well, that’s pretty much an admission right there,” Ralston said. “He was there, he admits that he allowed it, the ‘assault’ to happen.”
Though she lost the election, Ralston is still McDugle’s constituent and said she is concerned about the ongoing investigation. Whatever the result, Ralston said considering the sexual harassment case between former state representative Dan Kirby and a former legislative assistant, it is clear to her more needs to be done about the climate at the capitol.
“I know all of our Tulsa legislators, as well, will be asking for more emphasis to be put on the training of legislators and just the climate,” Ralston said. “Training about how you respect women in this climate. The power doesn’t matter. You do not treat women that way.
“That kind of atmosphere needs to be dealt with.”