Former Wisconsin Senate clerk resigned amid sexual misconduct investigation, report shows
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate’s former chief clerk resigned amid a sexual misconduct investigation, according to an investigator’s report released Tuesday.
Michael Queensland quietly resigned from his Senate post in September. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said in a two-sentence statement at the time that Queensland resigned following a “credible allegation.” He added that Queensland had denied all allegations but didn’t reveal what those allegations were.
The Legislature’s human resources office released a report Tuesday from investigator Susan Lessack, an employment attorney, who wrote someone alerted the state Senate in late August about allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against Queensland. The Legislature’s human resources office directed Lessack to investigate.
She interviewed a woman identified as Jane Doe employed in a legislative clerk’s office in another state. The report said the woman told Lessack she met Queensland during a legislative conference in Palm Springs, California.
According to the report, the woman said she and Queensland spent the evening of May 6 drinking and she passed out when she got back to her hotel. The woman said she regained consciousness to find Queensland on top of her trying to remove her pants and underwear. She reported telling him to stop four to five times, reminding him that he was married, then shoved him off her. The woman said he then left.
Queensland told Lessack the woman invited him back to her room and the encounter was consensual, the report said.
Lessack concluded that there was enough evidence to support the woman’s allegations. She said she believed Queensland rehearsed his statements to her. She added that the woman told Queensland an hour before the encounter that she would never be interested in a married man because she found infidelity offensive, which should have put Queensland on notice that she would not welcome any sexual advances from him.
The report said Queensland resigned after Lessack interviewed him but before the investigation was complete. The report is dated Monday.
Queensland did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday from The Associated Press seeking comment, and attempts to reach him by phone were not successful.
The report notes an attorney represented Queensland during the interview but doesn’t name the lawyer. It’s unclear if he currently has an attorney. Online court records show he has not been charged with any crimes in Wisconsin.
The Senate chief clerk, a non-partisan position, serves as the chamber’s administrator, handling a variety of tasks ranging from announcing bills on floor session days to tracking the body’s finances and records. Queensland had served as Senate chief clerk since January 2021. Prior to becoming clerk he worked as an attorney with the Legislative Council, which advises lawmakers on statutory interpretations and how to phrase bills.
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