Arnold Accusers Plan to Appeal Kentucky Ethics Panel's Decision

Apr 14, 2014

Credit Legislative Research Commission Public Information

Two women who made formal sexual harassment complaints against former Kentucky State Representative John Arnold have filed a motion with the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission asking it to reconsider its ruling that cleared Arnold of ethics charges.

State employees Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper say they were not informed that only five members of the nine-member ethics panel would be present for the hearing. The panel voted 4-1 to find Arnold guilty in three complaints brought by each woman, but the commission's bylaws call for five votes to render a verdict.

Costner says that the lone vote by newly appointed panel member Elmer George unfairly tipped the scales against them. "The question of the day was not that they didn't have jurisdiction, she said. “The question was, 'is he innocent or guilty?' And one person decided that fate, and we don't think that was fair." 

The ethics commission’s track record for reconsidering its decisions doesn’t bode well for the women, however: In nearly 20 years, the panel has yet to do so.

Meanwhile, a civil suit filed by the women against Arnold is pending in Franklin Circuit Court.