Rep. Windy Boy under investigation for sexually harassing texts to fellow legislator

Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder

(The Havre Herald) Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder, is the subject of an investigation looking into whether he sent sexually harassing texts to a fellow legislator, former House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, has confirmed.

A special investigator has been looking into the matter and filed a redacted report with the name of the offender and the victim blacked out, according to the Associated Press.

But Associated Press Helena Bureau Chief Matt Volz tweeted that Knudsen confirmed to him that Windy Boy was the alleged perpetrator.

The investigator, Jean Faurer, a Great Falls attorney, recommended that the Montana House take action before there was a repeat of the incident. But no specific recommendation was made.

Knudsen said that Windy Boy stepped aside as chairman of an interim legislative committee, a panel that works between sessions, before he could be removed.

Windy Boy has been chair of the committee for several sessions.

Although the name of the offender was never released, legislative leaders on both side of the aisle were aware of it for several months.

According to AP: “The investigative report by Faure blacked out the names of the lawmakers and witnesses, citing privacy interests, but detailed most of the text messages sent to the female lawmaker between mid-August and October 2017. … Those messages called the recipient ‘gorgeous’ and a ‘wonderful sight for My Sore Eyes.’ In one exchange, the complainant was concerned about overstepping boundaries in resolving an issue. The offender responded: ‘Well. Just know, between you and me. You can step all over me and there is no boundaries.’”

Windy Boy had no comment and referred questions to his attorney Friday.

The Legislature has been grappling with the issue of sexual harassment, and leaders acknowledged that there had been a complaint against a legislator, but didn’t reveal the name of the alleged offender.

A new system allows people who feel they have been harassed to file complaints.