Sexual harassment allegations factor in Johnstone board vote

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Last-minute allegations of sexual harassment may have kept a former Superior Court Judge from returning to the Board of Fisheries.

On Wednesday night, lawmakers were getting close to a vote on Karl Johnstone’s nomination, but Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, D-Anchorage, changed the course of the debate. She said several women contacted her about sexual harassment. She said these were people who worked for the Board of Fish when Johnstone previously served from 2008-2015.

“They each described inappropriate sexual comments that were made by them that were both, as I said inappropriate and unwelcome, which created a hostile work environment for them repeatedly,” she told her colleagues during the joint session. “The women were not willing to testify on the record regarding the allegations because of the fear of retribution by Mr. Johnstone.”

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