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Governor Releases Sexual Harassment Document After Denying It Existed

Joyce Russell/IPR
Gov. Kim Reynolds

Gov. Kim Reynolds Thursday released a redacted letter from a state employee describing overt sexual harassment over three years by former Iowa Finance Authority Director Dave Jamison, who is also a longtime friend of the governor. 

Jamison was fired on March 24th, less than 24 hours after the employee came forward.  

Requests have mounted since then for more information about the case, which the letter released Thursday provides.

"I am terrified about coming forward." -Iowa Finance Authority Employee

It details obscene comments, gestures, and texts by Jamison as well as inappropriate touching.   It describes Jamison inviting women from the office into his hotel room while they traveled together on business.   It relates numerous instances of Jamison asking the victim about her sexual preferences and history and staring at her body.

“Dave Jamison has been sexually harassing me and others in the office for years,” the victim wrote.    “I am terrified about coming forward, but his behavior is escalating and has to stop.”

Since the firing, Reynolds has said repeatedly that there were “credible allegations” against Jamison that justified his firing, but that she would not provide any further information in order to protect the victim’s confidentiality.    

When the Associated Press asked for documents related to the case, the governor said there were none.   Her office later backtracked and admitted the existence of the letter.

In a statement accompanying the redacted letter, the governor’s office said it was being released “on the victim’s terms."

“The victim has gone through and redacted the letter and is asking us to release it,” the statement read.

"The victim is asking us to release it." -Gov. Aide Brenna Smith

The letter states that two employees at the Finance Authority, Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crozier and General Counsel Mark Thompson were aware of the harassment and had urged Jamison to stop.

“It is atrocious that a General Counsel and a Chief Administrative Officer would do anything other than reporting their observations to the Governor’s office,”  AFSCME president Danny Homan said in a statement.  

In an interview with the Associated Press, the woman’s attorney, Paige Fiedler, questioned Reynolds' handling of the matter, including why she didn’t investigate the extent of Jamison’s behavior and why it wasn’t reported earlier.  

“None of that happened, which is unusual,” Fiedler  said. “There are lessons to be learned regardless of getting rid of the perpetrator.”

Reynolds and Jamison have been friends since their years working together as fellow county treasurers. 

In the letter, the victim says she went straight to the governor because she feared for her job if she reported to the agency that hears harassment complaints, the Department of Administrative Services.

“I know you’re friends with Dave and I hate to put this on your shoulders, but I just can’t take it anymore,” the victim wrote.   “I think DAS will just cover for him and I’ll end up without a job.”

In her own statement, Gov. Reynolds defended not releasing the letter earlier.

“I believe that victims of sexual harassment must be allowed to tell their story on their own timetable and on their own terms,” Reynolds wrote.  “It takes courage to come forward, and I don’t want any victim of sexual harassment to think twice about doing so in the future.”

Note added 04/27 11:20 a.m.     The date on the letter from the employee at Iowa Finance Authority includes a typing error.   The correct date is March 21, 2018.

Follow Joyce Russell on  Twitter:   @russell_ipr