Senate Panel Rejects Sexual Misconduct Inquiry

From Associated Press

The Senate Ethics Committee announced Friday that it has decided against investigating sexual misconduct allegations against Sen. Brock Adams (D-Wash.).

The committee said all but one of the accusations from nine women concerned incidents alleged to have occurred before Adams took office in January, 1987, and the other one had been investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office.

The state chapter of the National Organization for Women, which requested the investigation, said it was disappointed but not surprised by the committee’s decision.


“I’m angry and I’m saddened at the same time that the Senate still doesn’t get it when it comes to harassment, assault, drugging, molestation and rape,” said the chapter’s president, Norleen Koponen.

A letter sent to the NOW chapter, and signed by five Ethics Committee members, said the panel has no jurisdiction over an individual’s conduct before he joins the Senate.

The one incident that did allegedly take place after Adams became a senator--in which former congressional aide Kari Tupper said Adams drugged and raped her in 1987--has been investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office, which concluded that it was without merit, the committee said.

“Moreover, in the five years since the incident allegedly occurred, the committee has never received from the alleged victim any indication of a desire to initiate proceedings here,” the letter said.

The ethics panel met Thursday to discuss the Adams case. NOW’s Washington chapter had asked for the investigation after the allegations by Tupper and eight other women, whose names were not revealed, were reported in a series of stories by the Seattle Times.

Adams has denied the charges. After the allegations were made public in March, he said he would not run for reelection.