HELENA, Mont., March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Civil rights advocacy group, The Human Solution, is condemning what it sees as the manipulation of abuse claims to further a political agenda of a smear campaign against Montana State Legislator Jonathan Windy Boy.
Montana State Legislator Jonathan Windy Boy, the subject of an alleged workplace harassment complaint filed in January 2018 by a fellow lawmaker, was named in a recent AP article as the primary motivation behind the enactment of new polices and procedures aimed at correcting harassment in the workplace.
Both the alleged (unnamed) victim and Windy Boy had signed State Legislative Service documents reserving their privacy rights during, and subsequent to, completion of the March 2018 investigation report produced as a result of the allegations.
In spite of the duo's specific instructions regarding their privacy rights, the legislature's Legal Services office released a redacted copy of the investigative report to the Associated Press.
Although names of the lawmakers and witnesses were redacted from the document, the AP article reported that ex-Speaker of the House, Austin Knudsen, identified Jonathan Windy Boy as the subject of the confidential internal investigation, a serious breach of legal and ethical privacy mandates.
During a phone interview, Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas said, "I have no comment in regards to the issue with Jonathan Windy Boy." When asked about the anti-harassment rules that he co-authored being in line with the #MeToo movement, he stated, "This has absolutely nothing to do with the #MeToo movement. This was simply an upgrading of the rules and regulations regarding harassment and how it is dealt with by our HR Department. That's all it is - a simple upgrade."
Multiple questions posed on the same subject in a follow-up call to the Montana Legislative Legal Services office were avoided by the administrative spokesperson who said "no comment" to each question asked on the subject, except to the final question: "What are the legal ramifications for elected officials breaking these privacy agreements?" The spokesperson replied, "no comment, but yes that is a very good question."
The full response to the Associated Press's record request can be found at this link: https://www.scribd.com/document/400997880/AP-PR-Request
The public document policy underlying legal mandates that guide the release of investigative reports states: "This office recognizes its obligation to allow the examination of public documents pursuant to Article II, section 9, of the Montana Constitution. However, Montana's constitutional right to know is not absolute and Article II, section 10, provides that public disclosure is not required in cases where the demand for individual privacy clearly exceeds the public's right to know. "
The Human Solution is withholding the redacted investigation to protect those parties who remain – so far – unnamed in this ongoing controversy.
On March 21, 2018, Mr. Windy Boy voluntarily stepped down from his position as chairman of the State Tribal Relations Committee. The provided link is to the two emails written in his resignation of the position: https://www.scribd.com/document/400997465/State-Tribal-Relations-Committee-Resignation. A partial piece of his resignation is quoted here, "Please accept my resignation from the committee at this time. This decision was not taken lightly. A lot of things have come up in my life."
Rocky Boy Reservation Elder & tribal legal consultant, Duncan Standing Rock, said, "This news story is so full of innuendo and half-truths that you have to go through it line by line to pull the truth from the fiction. You must look at the man's voting record and the laws that he has authored. He has a clear history of pushing women's rights, disenfranchised peoples' and Native American peoples' rights as his core agenda. This is a history that his opposition does not appreciate."
Jonathan Windy Boy recently broke his long-standing silence related to the controversy stating, "I decided to resign from the interim committee, because I felt it was for the higher good of the committee, the good work the committee does, and the work I do in my main job conflicts with the dates of the committee and my day job compelled me to this decision. Not because of guilt. The only thing I'm guilty of is being a single man asking a single lady out for dinner and she accepted. What no one has said in the claim, in the report or in the media is that she accepted my offer to go out. The next thing I knew, the situation elevated into this."
Mr. Windy Boy continued, "There are signed agreements from both parties involved. I respect those individuals' right to privacy since my constitutional rights to privacy have been trampled. I have the right to defend myself. There have been no charges, no adjudication and no disposition. No laws were broke. This is all politics."
The elder, Duncan Standing Rock, added, "Mr. Windy Boy is a champion of our people and the only voice that we have in the legislature. The people that are defaming his reputation should be careful to not wake the sleeping giant that is our people's vote."
Listing of proposed State Legislation introduced by Mr. Windy Boy –
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2005/billhtml/HB0611.htm 2005 Domestic Abuse Bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2007/billhtml/HB0329.htm 2007 Domestic Abuse Bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2007/billhtml/HB0213.htm 2007 Hostile Work Environment Bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2009/billhtml/SB0494.htm 2009 Hostile Work Environment Bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2011/billhtml/SB0196.htm 2011 Hostile Work Environment Bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2013/billhtml/SB0362.htm 2013 Domestic abuse bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2015/billhtml/SB0227.htm 2015 Domestic abuse bill
https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2015/billhtml/SB0272.htm 2015 Indian language immersion programs
It is to note that all of these bills were killed in committee except for the 2015 Indian language immersion programs bill.
Human Solution International, Native American Rights Division
The Human Solution is a comprehensive and growing civil rights non-profit organization that advocates for disenfranchised peoples' rights throughout the country. The Human Solution international 501c3 Native American Rights Division supports justice and equality for all. We take claims of harassment and abuse seriously and believe that a claim must rise to the level of illegality so as to not dilute the growing and all important civil rights movement of our time. Additionally, in a world of increasing media coverage and in the interest of justice, information must be released lawfully and without bias to protect the rights of all.
Please contact Sergio Sandoval, Human Solution International, Native American Rights Division, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Human Solution International, Native American Rights Division