'He should resign. It's that simple.' Woman who says she was groped by Alaska lawmaker says apology is not enough

 Letter detailing Rep. Dean Westlake's 2017 sexual harassment, written by victim Olivia.
Letter detailing Rep. Dean Westlake's 2017 sexual harassment, written by victim Olivia. (KTUU)
Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 4:49 PM AKST
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A former legislative staffer,

, says the freshman lawmaker should resign from office.

Olivia Garrett, who addressed a letter outlining two work-related encounters with Westlake to House leadership said his behavior is unacceptable for an unelected official.


and the chairperson for the state Democratic party have also called today for Westlake to resign.

Listen to Garrett describe her reaction to Westlake’s recent apology here:

Garrett says Westlake grabbed her arm while passing her in a hallway in January and told her that her haircut “really turned him on.”

“It was really gross and just kind of strange because he’s an almost 60-year-old man,” Garrett said in a phone interview today. “So I just kept kind of walking because I wasn’t really sure what to do about it.”

Months later, she said, Garrett was in a crowded room when Westlake “grabbed (her) butt as he walked by.”

that at least six other women have described unwanted physical contact, remarks or sexual advances from Westlake.

Westlake’s office issued a statement yesterday: “I sincerely apologize if an encounter with me has made anyone uncomfortable. That has certainly never been my intent. I welcome both the review and update to the Legislature’s sexual harassment policies, as well as new training for members and staff.”

Garrett said that’s not good enough.

“The statement from Rep. Westlake is a non-apology,” she said. “Seven women total, have come out publicly now. … Talking about inappropriate behavior from him and it’s unacceptable from a public official and he should resign. It’s that simple.”

House Speaker Edgmon provided this statement Friday afternoon.

"We take very seriously our obligation to ensure everyone who works in the Capitol feels safe and respected. Members of the Alaska House Majority Coalition Leadership understand that it is difficult for victims to speak out, especially against elected officials in a position of power and commend anyone who has been mistreated for coming forward; they are owed justice and respect. In light of recent reports of inappropriate behavior related to his position in the Legislature, House Leadership believes Representative Dean Westlake should resign from the office his constituents sent him to Juneau to represent. This is an extremely difficult decision to make, but it is a necessary decision.”

And the statement from Alaska Democratic Party Chair Casey Steinau:

“Representative Westlake must resign immediately. The allegations against Representative Westlake as detailed in today’s Anchorage Daily News are serious and this behavior cannot be tolerated. There is no place where sexual misconduct, harassment, or assault is acceptable. Elected officials, regardless of party must be held accountable.”