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ND House expels lawmaker after sexual harassment allegations

The GOP-controlled North Dakota House of Representatives voted 69-25 to expel one of its members over sexual harassment allegations.

The chamber voted to expel Republican Rep. Luke Simons one week after allegations against him going back to 2017 were made public, according to The Associated Press. It’s the first time in North Dakota's history that a lawmaker was removed from the state’s legislature.

Before the vote, Simons blamed his accusers for “twisting his words,” according to the news outlet, and said other lawmakers could be in his position.

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“I could make any accusation against any of you," Simons said, according to AP. “Under this circumstance we are under, you’re guilty.”

Simons posted a photo of the vote on Facebook, with the caption “Well that’s it, no hearing, no trial and no evidence. Just based off of accusations that were made, I was expelled from the house and now I’m out of the legislature,” The Bismark Tribune reported.

After the vote, Simons’s attorney Lynn Boughey said they will review their options, adding “as discussed, taking this to the North Dakota Supreme Court is an option,” according to the Tribune

"I have to talk to my client to determine how he wants to proceed,” Boughey said, according to the news outlet.

The state legislature’s Legislative Council released a 14-page report last week detailing multiple harassment allegations, according to The Grand Forks Herald.

One staffer alleged that Simons gave her an unsolicited shoulder rub during a committee meeting, and another said Simons told her she could “lick and sniff” a stain on a paper he slid across her desk, according to the news outlet. 

Details of Simons’s misconduct first emerged last month after an altercation in the state Capitol's cafeteria between him and two female Democratic lawmakers last month, according to the Herald. The news outlet reported that Simons gave an expletive-filled response to the lawmakers when they asked that he wear his mask while waiting for his food.