DES MOINES, Iowa — Kirsten Anderson, the former communications director for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus, had her claims of sexually inappropriate language in the workplace confirmed by her former bosses on the stand Wednesday.
Anderson is suing both the State of Iowa and the Senate Republican Caucus for sexual harassment. Wednesday morning she sat back and watched three of her former bosses take the stand.
John Ashworth and Russ Trimble both provided testimony that confirmed many of Anderson’s sexual harassment claims.
“There were so many that it’s hard to recall too many of the particulars,” said Ashworth. “They were sexually inappropriate and racist at times … On numerous occasions those conversations went on. “
Ashworth did express remorse that he didn’t speak up early. He says that he was afraid that he’d be retaliated against because that had happened before.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” said Ashworth on why he decided to speak up now.
Trimble also provided testimony to backup Anderson’s claim about Senators making lewd remarks. He spoke about a specific interaction he had with former Iowa Sen. Shawn Hamerlinck.
“Pam (Dugdale) and I were walking in the back of the Senate and we met up with Sen. Hamerlinck,” said Trimble. “He asked for, he had a hand gesture and asked her how big? I was just confused at first. Then I realized that he was asking her essentially how big her areolas were. At that moment I looked down and I just slid away.”
Iowa Republican Senators Jerry Behn, Bill Anderson and Tim Kapuchian also took the stand on Wednesday. All three testified they had a tough time remembering specifics during Anderson’s tenure as Communications Director for the caucus. They did all agree that she was professional and met minimum expectations with her work performance.
Testimony will continue Thursday, check back for updates.