To the editor: Last year the highest law officer in the state, then-Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, willfully violated Alaska law when he sexually harassed a female state employee with unwanted physical touch and over 500 text messages of a romantic and/or sexual nature. Governor Dunleavy and his chief of staff, Ben Stevens, also broke the law when: 1) they knowingly allowed the harassment to continue and 2) their administration instructed the unnamed state employee to refrain from discussing evidence. Instead of facing punishment, Mr. Clarkson was allowed to quietly resign after local media covered the story.
With a new year under way, the Dunleavy administration has yet to release a report.
As Alaskans who care about safety in the workplace we, the undersigned, call for a full and complete explanation of the sexual harassment by former Attorney General Kevin Clarkson as well as the Dunleavy administration’s response, to include the following:
• An official report on the violations of state law described above
• Why Governor Dunleavy and Mr. Stevens knowingly failed to prevent a member of their administration from committing a crime against a state employee
• What protocols Governor Dunleavy and Mr. Stevens had in place to prevent and address sexual harassment crimes within the Dunleavy administration
• If, how, and to what degree these protocols were followed
• Why Mr. Clarkson was allowed to retain his position as attorney general after credible evidence of sexual harassment was brought forward
• Why the Dunleavy administration instructed the employee to refrain from discussing evidence of this crime
Furthermore, we call for the resignation of Dunleavy administration Chief of Staff Ben Stevens based on neglect of duties.
All Alaskans are guaranteed basic protections by the laws of our state, including those that safeguard us in the workplace. Likewise, each and every Alaskan is accountable to them, regardless of position or power. The burden of responsibility for upholding these laws is grave and ultimately entrusted to those of the highest office — among them the attorney general, the governor’s chief of staff, and the governor himself. In this, the Dunleavy administration has intentionally failed and must be held to account.