Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Morrison’s fate as AG uncertain

Lawmakers say resignation may be in order if allegations by former lover are true

December 11, 2007

Advertisement

— Attorney General Paul Morrison's job is on the line.

A year ago, Morrison was applauded by Democrats and moderate Republicans for defeating then-Attorney General Phill Kline.

But now Morrison faces an uncertain future in light of revelations about his extramarital affair with a former subordinate who now reportedly accuses him of sexual harassment and ethical misconduct.

Both Republican and Democratic leaders on Monday agreed that if Morrison did what Linda Carter claimed he did, then Morrison should resign.

Morrison admitted to a two-year extramarital affair with Carter, who was the former director of administration for the Johnson County district attorney's office when Morrison was the district attorney there.

And while political leaders expressed shock about that, the real heartburn comes from Carter's reported allegations that Morrison sexually harassed her and tried to get information from her about legal action involving Kline.

If those allegations are proven, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said, Morrison should step down.

"Certainly, if any of the allegations turn out to be accurate, I think yes," Sebelius said.

"One deals with his conduct as an attorney in the DA's office; the other is as an employer, and I think either one should trigger a resignation," she said.

Those allegations were published by the Topeka Capital-Journal, which reported that Carter filed a complaint against Morrison with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The newspaper also said it obtained a signed statement from Carter.

Morrison refuses to step down

Sebelius, a Democrat who welcomed Morrison when he switched parties and defeated the conservative Republican Kline in 2006, said she didn't want to pre-judge Morrison and noted that while he admitted to having the affair, he denied trying to use Carter to get information about Kline.

Morrison's office said he has no intention of resigning.

Morrison has refused to speak publicly about the stunning revelation.

In a prepared statement, he admitted to having an affair with Carter but denied the other accusations.

"Any allegations of discrimination or harassment are blatantly and patently false. Any allegation that I used the relationship to influence litigation is absolutely false," he said.

GOP wants answers

For the Kansas Republican Party, that wasn't good enough.

GOP Chairman Kris Kobach said Morrison should give the public a full response to each allegation - or resign.

If the reported allegations made by Carter are true, then Morrison broke the law by engaging in sexual harassment and trying to influence the judicial process by using his relationship to gain information about Kline, Kobach said.

"Any of these acts alone would be grounds for resignation or impeachment. All three together constitute a shocking abuse of power," he said.

Accusations

Morrison was district attorney in Johnson County for 18 years before switching to the Democratic Party to successfully challenge Kline for the attorney general's job. It was a bitter election in which Morrison blasted Kline's investigation into abortion clinics.

After his defeat, however, Kline mustered the support of Johnson County precinct leaders who selected him to serve the remainder of Morrison's term as district attorney. Carter stayed on in the district attorney's office until the end of November.

Morrison and Carter started their relationship in September 2005 and ended it last summer, according to Carter's statement reported in the Capital-Journal.

When confronted with the allegation, Morrison said in a statement: "Unfortunately, it is true, however, that I once had a consensual relationship with Mrs. Carter. And I profoundly regret that I did."

In that newspaper report, Carter said they had sexual encounters in the Johnson County Courthouse and hotels in several Kansas cities and several states.

Carter says Morrison tried to pressure her to write letters for former district attorney's office employees who were dismissed by Kline. She also said Morrison sought information about Kline's investigation into the Planned Parenthood clinic in Overland Park.

Bitter election

The timing of the relationship also rankled some because it occurred during the 2006 campaign - when Morrison's wife, Joyce, fought off charges from Kline related to another sexual harassment claim against Morrison in the early 1990s.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said Morrison's credibility had been damaged, "but it's not irreparable."

He said if Carter's allegations about Morrison seeking information on Kline through her are true, then Morrison should resign.

But, he said, the legal process must be allowed to gather facts in the case.

Asked whether it was a setback to the Democratic Party, Sebelius said, "I think it's a huge setback for Kansans. I think when people put their faith in a public official and feel that faith to be violated, it's a huge disappointment and a shock for a lot of people. He's a high-profile statewide officeholder who was elected by Republicans and Democrats and independents."

Comments

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

Rothschild is one of the best investigative reporters in the state. If attending his church has something to do with that, more of them should go.

jonas 7 years ago

"What in the wide world of sports does Morrison's win over Kline now a year ago have to do with Morrisons transgressions while serving as top cop for Kansas?"

Well, my guess is they are both background facts about Morrison.

coldandhot 7 years ago

Morrison should resign. As the top cop in the state he must be above reproach. He has lied numerous times and I have no confidence that he will proceed fairly in his position.

Also, Rothschild must be on of the least aware reporters in Kansas. This is a big story! It has been since Saturday and the Journal World has downplayed the story. No mention Sunday and barely a mention on Monday. The Capitol Journal and the KC Star have out scooped him on this story...or is it that he wouldn't want to write anything to unfavorable about his beloved Dems.

KS 7 years ago

In this day and age of lies, corruption, cheating (Bill Clinton, too), Paul Morrison is NOT going anywhere. He admitted the mistake so as not to be targeted as covering it up. He just wants this to settle down and go away. Yes, the man should resign and the sooner the better, but my bet is that it ain't going to happen. I agree with right-thinker. What does Kline have to do with this?

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

Morrison will survive this - it is very difficult to prove sexual harassment. Was there a witness to his alleged requests for information from this woman?

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years ago

How can a two-year consentual affair suddenly be viewed as harassment? My guess is that the lady is a bitter woman who is upset because Morrison wouldn't leave his wife. Both Morrison and his mistress should be ashamed of themselves. They're both dirtbags.

Frank Smith 7 years ago

It's enormously disappointing when a politician gets caught, especially literally, with his pants down. Most people were aware Kline was a megalomanic hypocrite. He lied right here in the pages of the LJW when being interviewed during the campaign about his conduct with the State Board of Education majority.

It's distressing that Morrison too, has lied to his family and engaged in sexual conduct with a subordinate. We deserve better.

No supervisor should take sexual advantage of an employee. No teacher should do so with a pupil, no therapist with a patient.

As far as the other charges, that Morrison sought to find out what sort of lunacy Kline was up to, I doubt it, even though Morrison showed enormous lack of judgment in the affair. I can't imagine how proof could be brought, and it doesn't seem at all germane to an EEOC complaint. Nothing that happened in 2007 should be in such a complaint. Carter quit her job eleven months after Morrison ceased to be her supervisor, so there's no grounds for allegations of leaving due to a hostile work environment. There's no constructive termination.

These cases are not normally tried in the press. Why is Carter pursuing the matter on the front pages of Kansas newspapers?

Kansas has a one-year statute of limitations, I believe, so I assume the employment harassment allegations may not have constituted a basis for a claim in a state court.

Carter rented an apartment to pursue this relationship after Morrison left the D.A.'s office. She hid the immensely expensive ring he bought her so her husband wouldn't find it. It's a stretch to think that it was not consensual. Is she trying to repair her marriage by attacking Morrison? Did her husband demand that she do this?

What are the allegations of manipulation doing there if they don't constitute the basis for the filing? What exactly is Carter's motivation?

One wonders what Kline had to do with all this, of course, he being a master manipulator. There's something else going on here to which we are not yet privy, nor may we ever discover what it is.

Kim Murphree 7 years ago

"Asked whether it was a setback to the Democratic Party,"

---interesting question, but wasn't Morrison a Republican when he had the affair, and allegedly committed the sexual harrassment?????

Which is why I agree with the Governor....IF this is all true, then it is a setback for KANSANS....

Sebelius said, "I think it's a huge setback for Kansans. I think when people put their faith in a public official and feel that faith to be violated, it's a huge disappointment and a shock for a lot of people. He's a high-profile statewide officeholder who was elected by Republicans and Democrats and independents."

AND, I have to tell you my first reaction was... what connection is there between Ms. Carter or even Mr. Carter and Phil Kline.. this is just the kind of thing he would be involved in... SOMEONE needs to dig deeper...

lunacydetector 7 years ago

does this lady have tape recordings of morrison requesting letters for the fired attorney's or the planned parenthood case?

if this were to be the case, isn't it is against state law to record private conversations? i wonder if morrison would have to clarify the law?

as for kline being behind all of this, give us a break. blame kline for morrison's actions? what you been smoking?

Kontum1972 7 years ago

hmmmmm..same guy who said the city commission just used poor judgement....gee whiz fellow lawrence citizen's... this really stink's? Too bad lynch mobs are not legal, the birds could use some extra chow. But the current administration (no, not city government) has laid the ground work of above the law and it seems these political Hacks are just following the leader this is a very sad situation.

Greed and Sex...

Ps...are there any honest people out there?

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

This is what you get when you turn your party over to Republicans and Parkinson's no better. Dennis McKinney for Governor, Chris Biggs for AG.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

63BC 7 years ago

I gotta ask, because I'm not clear.

Seriously, did he get the tatoo or not?

standuporget 7 years ago

is it possible he used the threat of revealing the affair to get her to write the letters. so she told her husband and he said B you better report him. bozo is a idiot

toefungus 7 years ago

Hensley has consulted with Bonnie Lowe about the proper way to help Morrison. Lowe is planning an "approval" party soon. Go to Landmark Bank and ask for the details.

Atalanta 7 years ago

What's the adage? "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Reads like vengeance on Carter's part. Then again, none of us knows the whole story, and none of us ever will.

If he had an affair, it is private. People get hurt, and it sucks, but it's private, and that alone shouldn't be cause for a resignation. Sexual harassment - IF it happened - is a different matter, and more facts are needed before we burn anyone at the stake.

Oh, but where would be be if we weren't burning someone. Bored, perhaps?

beatrice 7 years ago

Once again, an elected, married man cheats on his spouse. Be it a "not-gay" senator picking up strangers in an airport toilet, or an attorney general in Kansas, the problem is clear -- you just can't trust MEN!

Vote for Hillary in '08 Help put a stop to cheaters in office.

(Paid for by the "Bill did it, not Hillary!" committee)

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years ago

Chris Biggs for AG. Get this Republicrat loser out of there (and send Governor Roundheels off with him).

cornflakegirl 7 years ago

If everyone who had an affair was terminated, there would be no doctors, no lawyers, no policeman, no ticket takers at the movie theater. While there is no good excuse for this, it happens everywhere. Affairs and their aftermath bring out some of the lowest forms of human nature - hardly anything can compare to their nastiness. The worst is when an office affair is well known by employees and is kept secret from the victim. When they find out, because they always do, the betrayal is magnified due to everyone's silent consent. If people could just stand up and do what is right (advise the wronged party) instead of taking a "it's none of my business" attitude, perhaps these things wouldn't happen so often.

badger 7 years ago

What an idiotic headline.

Of course his fate as AG is uncertain. The charges and complaint against him have been neither formally proven nor disproven. Until the charges are resolved, the fate of his service is, by necessity, uncertain - unless simply the currently unproven accusation of wrongdoing is sufficient reason for him to be ousted. If allegations of misconduct that haven't yet been fully investigated are grounds for removal, then heck, don't we need about 30 new Senators, a hundred or so new US Representatives, and a new President?

Run a full investigation. If he's guilty of professional misconduct, boot him. If he's not, let him get back to his job.

beatrice 7 years ago

Great. Now if you support Hillary, even in an obviously joking manner, you get equated with the people who exterminated 6 million Jews. Nice.

beatrice 7 years ago

rt, you are the one who recently quoted from and provided a link to a white supremacist group, not anyone else. You. When called on it, you ignore it or act like it is no big deal. When this is combined with your constant name-calling and outright hatred of liberalism, tolerance and diversity, what other conclusion can we draw?

manbearpig 7 years ago

Defender,

I said this earlier on a different story. Morrison did not "just have an affair". If he were just sleeping with some random woman, then I would tend to agree with you. Morrison dipped into the office pool with a woman who was his subordinate. As the boss of the office and an elected official, he was in charge of Mrs. Carter and his actions were a violation of professional ethics and the trust of those that voted him into office.

He needs to resign. People need to stop characterizing this as some horny guy getting his rocks off. He committed a serious violation of professional ethics and the public trust.

manbearpig 7 years ago

Here's a little more to clarify what I was saying. Morrison arguably has violated two of the American Bar Associations Model Rules for Professional Conduct:

Model Rules of Professional Conduct Law Firms And Associations Rule 5.3 Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants

With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer:

(a) a partner, and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer;

(b) a lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer

Maintaining The Integrity Of The Profession Rule 8.4 Misconduct it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation

The Rules can be found at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/mrpc_toc.html.

Jayhawker1 7 years ago

Note to Morrison: Never have an affair...at least not with a psycho! DOH!!!

Jayhawker1 7 years ago

If I had a nickel for every politicain having an affair... I could buy gallon of gas!

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

DId Carter report this alleged harssment to anyone but the press after she found out Morrison would not leave his wife? Did she follow every step, properly, to file an EEOC complaint? If the EEOC complaint is rejected, it is done. She is obviously a very bitter woman, one, to have the affair in the first place, and two, to try to destroy the guy. Jayhawker said it best - never have an affair, especially with a psycho. There are plenty of psychos out there.

manbearpig 7 years ago

Defender,

Why are you being such an apologist for him? If a boss screws his secretary, consensually or not, the boss needs to be fired as he is abusing his position.

manbearpig 7 years ago

I am calling for him to step down for the very reasons I have submitted.

Also, to clarify, I am not making a big deal out of the class C misdemeanor thing (which is silly and antiquated), I am saying that he abused his position. I am not claiming that any of the charges are true except that he did in fact have an affair with a woman who worked for him when he was an elected official. As I said, if it were as simple as him just having sex with some random woman, then I would say it is a personal matter, but he abused his position as Johnson County DA, and therefore is not fit to serve in a higher position.

shockchalk 7 years ago

The burden of proof for sexual harassment would not fall to Ms. Carter. Sexual harrassment is about what she perceived or felt from his actions. It has nothing to do with his intent, or their prior relationship. If she "felt" harassed or perceived that he was using his postition to request certain things from her, than she has a very good case. From what I've read, both Dems and Repubs alike think that if any of these allegations are true, Mr. Morrison should step down.

sinedie 7 years ago

Logicsound04's logic is...sound :) - Sorry, couldn't resist. Of course the burden of proof is on her; she is making the allegations. You want Morrison to prove a negative? Here's the info from the EEOC website.

http://www.eeoc.gov/types/sexual_harassment.html

Let's subtract the silly partisan rhetoric about whether he's more to blame because he's a D or because he used to be an R. A more interesting question is what will happen if in the end he is cleared of wrongdoing, except for the affair? What should happen? To those who are elated by Morrison's moral fiasco, I would be careful about asking for his resignation; the Governor would appoint a (wo)man of her choosing, who would coast to the D nomination and probably another term in 2010.

justthefacts 7 years ago

He had a 2 year affair with someone he supervised. That much is admitted to by all the parties. He also did not bring her to Topeka, as he did with a lot of his former employees. Everything else is, at this point, pure speculation based upon speculation or guesses about facts or laws, or personal opinions.

I do find it interesting how little "play" the LJW has given this story when compared to (a) what it is getting from other media sources and (b) the level of attention previously given to ANY mis-step by others in the public eye. I do wonder about that - but answering "why" would only be speculation or personal opinion, so I shall refrain.

Inquiringmind 7 years ago

Lets look at this from a different perspective. Follow the money. Ms. Carter says that she and Paul had sexual encounters in the Johnson County Courthouse and hotels in several Kansas cities and several states. So were the taxpayers paying for Paul to have sex? What was Ms. Carter doing in the "several Kansas cities and several states" with Paul? Was she there on legitimate County/State business? If not did were public funds used to pay her expenses and salary while she was accompanying Paul?

The article doesn't say what time of day Paul and Ms Carter were having sex. If it was during working hours did Paul or Ms. Carter claim those as work hours? If it was after hours did Ms. Carter get overtime or comp time?

The legislature or someone needs to conduct a thorough audit to determine if public funds were used for Paul to have sex. If the answer is YES then Paul has committed a crime. See Kansas Statutes Annotated 21-3910. "Misuse of public funds." A public official convicted under that staute "...... shall forfeit the person's official position." Whether misuse of public funds is a felony or a misdemeanor depends upon the amount of funds involved. Forfeiture of office however must occur upon conviction regardless of the level of the offense.

Paul has admitted the sex. The next question is: Who was paying for their travel, their rooms, their meals, and their salaries while they were having sex?

shockchalk 7 years ago

Wrong Sinedie, She doesn't have to PROVE anything. If she felt or perceived herself as being harassed, then he will have to PROVE that he didn't harass her. This is how sexual harassment works.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

shock, do some reading, please. This from the EEOC: Cite at the bottom.

What does the claimant have to prove? The questions at issue to prove harassment are different, depending on whether the claim relies on the first or second limb of the definition of harassment in s.4A.

In a claim brought under the first limb of the definition, set out in s.4A(1)(a), (described by the DTI guidance as "harassment"), the questions are: was the conduct engaged in "on the ground of her sex" or more correctly related to her sex (see EOC v Secretary of Trade [2007] IRLR 327? was the conduct unwanted? did the conduct have the purpose of violating the claimant's dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her? Or did the conduct have the effect of violating the claimant's dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her? Conduct is only to be regarded as having this effect if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the perception of the woman, it should reasonably be considered as having that effect. In a claim brought under the second limb of the definition, set out in s.4A(1)(b), (described by the DTI guidance as "sexual harassment"), the questions are: was the conduct unwanted? was it verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature? did the conduct have the purpose of violating the claimant's dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her? Or did the conduct have the effect of violating the claimant's dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her? Conduct is only to be regarded as having this effect if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the perception of the woman, it should reasonably be considered as having that effect.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

con't.....

The Burden of Proof The burden is on the claimant to prove, on a balance of probabilities, that she has been harassed in circumstances prohibited by the SDA. The effect of s.63A of the SDA is that the ET must find harassment where the claimant proves facts from which the ET could conclude - in the absence of an adequate explanation from the respondent - that the respondent has committed an act of harassment, unless the respondent proves that he did not harass the claimant, or is not to be treated as having harassed the claimant.

(Note that some of the cases referred in this section were decided before section 63A was brought into force on 12 October 2001. The previous position was that the ET was entitled, but was not required, to draw an inference of discrimination in such circumstances.) There have, as yet, been no authorities where s.63A has been applied in a case to which the definition of harassment in s.4A applies. The authorities referred to below relate to the application of s.63A in other sex discrimination cases, but the same principles should apply in harassment cases.

The EAT in Barton v Investec Henderson Crosthwaite Securities Ltd [2003] IRLR 332 gave guidance on how the burden of proof should be approached since the introduction of s.63A SDA. Those guidelines were approved (with minor corrections and amendments) by the Court of Appeal in Igen v Wong [2005] EWCA Civ 142. The full, revised guidelines are set out in Proving liability for discrimination in the Legal framework and procedure section of this website. In summary, the Barton guidelines provide that: The claimant must prove, on the balance of probabilities, facts from which the ET could conclude, in the absence of an adequate explanation, that the respondent has committed an act of unlawful discrimination or is to be treated as having committed such an act. This will usually depend on what inferences of discrimination can be drawn from the primary facts found. Where the claimant has discharged this burden, the burden then moves to the respondent to prove that he did not discriminate on the ground of sex or is not to be treated as having committed that act. The respondent must prove, on the balance of probabilities, that his treatment of the claimant was "in no sense whatsoever on the ground of sex". The respondent must provide an adequate explanation to prove that sex was no part of the reasons for the treatment and, since the respondent would normally be in possession of the facts necessary to provide an explanation, the ET would normally expect cogent evidence to discharge that burden. In particular, the ET will need to examine carefully explanations for failure to deal with the questionnaire procedure and/or any code of practice.

http://www.eoc-law.org.uk/default.aspx?page=2840

Godot 7 years ago

Anyone want to take a bet that the jilted husband bugged the lovenest in Lawrence?

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

Who cares? Get a life. Read a book. Do you watch the soaps?

Godot 7 years ago

A recording might be the reason she went forward with the suit; that's all I'm sayin'.

shockchalk 7 years ago

Valkyrie, According to the fine folks at the EEOC office where I work........sexual harassment is often something one feels or perceives is happening. Therefore, by nature, you can't just dismiss someone's complaint of harrassment by saying, "Well, that's not what he/she meant" or "You shouldn't feel that way because it was just a joke/comment/suggestion/etc." So, when sexual harassment complaints are lodged, it is often up to the person the complaint is against to show that he/she was not harassing the individual. If you talk to someone from an EEOC office, they can explain to you how this type of complaint is very differnt than other types of complaints and therefore, handled very differently.

Kathy Getto 7 years ago

I understand more than you know how real perceived harassment is to the person that feels harassed. However, if it is not reported to a superior or designee, the proper steps have not been taken, and proof of that harassment is not available, i.e witnesses, a document, and so on, the alleged harasser has nothing to defend him/herself against. Proving sexual harssment is difficult and many have been able to get away with harassment in the workplace. I do believe the complainant has to show that it created a hostile environment. Not a simple task.

The bottom line in this case is Carter had an affair with a married man, made the choice to leave her husband, and was subsequently jilted. She is pissed, and it doesn't matter now if the charges are proven against Morrison, because the damage to his career and family is already done.

I find it interesting that Carter's ethics are not being challenged in this matter. People tend to feel sorry for the woman which I just don't get.

Godot- I see what you were saying about the recording now - but, even if, is it a viable recording?

hottruckinmama 7 years ago

This was no harassment. It went on for over 2 years. She accepted a very expensive engagement ring from him. They planned to marry. Not very moral since they were both married to other people. But not harassment. In the end he couldn't muster the b@lls to leave his old lady for good. The mistress was po'ed since she's already screwed up her family over him. My bet is good 'ol Phil Kline was just waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces...

And then people wonder where soap opera ideas and country songs come from :)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.