Politics

Royal Oak state senator files sex harassment complaint against Sen. Peter Lucido


January 21, 2020, 9:00 AM

The year is just three weeks old, but 2020 already is a rough one for state Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.

Days after Lansing reporter Allison Donahue called him out for an inappropriate crack that "made me feel small," a colleague complains about past behavior by the 59-year-old lawmaker. Chad Livengood has the scoop at Crain's:

Sen. Mallory McMorrow said she filed a sexual harassment complaint against Lucido with the Senate Business Office on Tuesday over an incident that occurred more than 14 months ago during an orientation day for new senators two days after the November 2018 election. 

... McMorrow said Lucido made a remark suggesting she defeated an incumbent Republican senator based on her looks while he held his hand on her lower back for an extended period of time that made her uncomfortable.


First-term Sens. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, and Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township (Photos:Facebook)

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McMorrow, now 33, says she introduced herself to the Macomb Republican who had just won a Senate seat after two House terms.

"He shook my hand and with his other hand held my low back with his fingers on my hips, effectively upper rear, and we had a back-and-forth conversation," said McMorrow, a Royal Oak Democrat. ... He asked who I ran against. And I said, 'I beat Marty Knollenberg.'

"At which point he looked me up and down, raised his eyebrows and said, 'I can see why.'" McMorrow said Lucido's scanning of her body and remark "felt really degrading and deflating."  

In a response to Crain's, the older senator texts early Tuesday: "I categorically deny this allegation, which I believe is completely untrue and politically motivated."

Livengood also quotes a bystander about the 2018 encounter:

Sen. Rosemary Bayer, a Democrat from Beverly Hills who also had just won a Republican seat, said she witnessed Lucido holding McMorrow for an extended period. ...

"They were standing there talking together and his arm was … reaching around her back," Bayer told Crain's. 

Featured_allison_donahue__michigan_advance_39972
Allison Donahue: "The situation made me embarrassed, it made me feel small."
(Photo: Facebook)

Last week's unpleasantness involved a Michigan Advance newsletter journalist who tried to question Lucido in the Capitol while he was escorting students from his Warren parochial high school. She wrote:

He told me he would catch up with me after he was finished honoring the group of students. ... "You should hang around! You could have a lot of fun with these boys, or they could have a lot of fun with you," [he said].

The teenagers burst into an old boys’ network-type of laughter, and I walked away knowing that I had been the punchline of their "locker room" talk.

Except it wasn't the locker room; it was the Senate chamber. And this isn't high school. It's my career. 

McMorrow speaks up now because "I felt guilty" about what happened to the 22-year-old reporter, she says.

"I felt like had I said something sooner maybe this wouldn't have happened to her."

A Democratic state representative, Laurie Pohutsky of Livonia, tweets: "I couldn’t be more proud to be serving in the legislature with Mallory McMorrow than I am today. Thank you for your courage, Senator."

Related:


Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business


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