Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Democratic Rep. Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque said Friday that at least two women have confided in her and described sexual harassment by fellow Rep. Carl Trujillo – a Nambé Democrat who already faces an on-the-record accusation of inappropriate touching.
Trujillo, in turn, said he hasn’t sexually harassed anyone and isn’t aware of any other allegation against him.
In an interview Friday, Armstrong said she believes the account of Laura Bonar – an Animal Protection Voters staff member who accused Trujillo of sexual harassment – partly because other women have, in private, shared their own stories about Trujillo. She wouldn’t say how many or offer other details.
“There are other women who have confided in me with very credible stories with witnesses,” Armstrong said, “and so it increases for me the veracity of Laura’s complaint.”
She said she also believes Bonar’s account because of how difficult it is “for women to come forward and put both their reputation and their employment at risk. I start from a place of believing her.”
Another Democratic lawmaker also said Friday that she believes Bonar.
Trujillo, who’s facing a re-election challenge in next month’s Democratic primary, says his opponents are trying to “hijack and exploit the #MeToo movement” to oust him from the Legislature, where he serves as vice chairman of the House Taxation and Revenue Committee.
“These allegations are lies,” he said Friday.
He added that he is “disappointed that two of my fellow members would join this witch hunt when no proof has been offered and no formal complaint has ever been made. It is evident the timing of these allegations is strictly for political gain.”
A private detective “with a reputation for dishonest tactics,” Trujillo said, has been approaching women and trying to pressure them into complaining about his conduct.
Trujillo faces Andrea Romero of Santa Fe in the June 5 primary election. No Republican is running in the district.
Allegations of sexual harassment have repeatedly shaken up the Roundhouse this year, and legislative leaders adopted a new anti-harassment policy in January, ahead of this year’s session.
Trujillo was thrust into the conversation this week when Bonar, in a letter released to the public, accused Trujillo of propositioning her, touching her inappropriately and retaliating when she rejected his advances. She said he should resign.
Her allegations, she said, centered on his conduct at the Roundhouse during the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions.
Trujillo, a scientist and business owner, called the allegations against him “lies of the worst sort.”
He could face an internal investigation. House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, said he and the Democratic and Republican floor leaders plan to meet with an outside attorney to consider how to proceed, as called for in the new harassment policy.
Armstrong said Trujillo should consider resigning.
Rep. Christine Trujillo, D-Albuquerque, said Friday that she, too, believes Bonar’s account, though she said her only knowledge of the situation is from news coverage.
“She seems to recall very clearly the incidents and the times that all this occurred,” said Christine Trujillo, who’s not related to Carl Trujillo.