Sarah Gideon does not believe in our system: due process, separate branches of government, and the rule of law.
In August 2018, I asked the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to convene an investigation on both Rep. Dillon Bates and Speaker of the House Sarah Gideon regarding allegations of serious sexual misconduct that involved a potential cover up. My request was blocked. https://mehousegop.org/2018/08/08/rep-paula-g-sutton-seeks-ethics-committee-investigation-of-public-allegations-against-rep-dillon-bates/
For nine months, Speaker Gideon dragged her feet. In November 2017, she was first notified of potential misconduct involving Rep. Bates. On August 3, 2018, The Bollard released an article incriminating Rep. Bates. https://thebollard.com/2018/08/03/lawmaker-coach-director-predator/
Why didn’t Sarah Gideon demand an ethics investigation when she first heard about the allegations of misconduct? Sara Gideon claims to support “#MeToo,” but does she really listen to and believe vulnerable young girls?
Futhermore, Ms. Gideon also blocked an opportunity to increase penalties for failure to report suspicion of child abuse by mandatory reporters.
More than 40 states currently have stricter penalties and consider it either a felony or misdemeanor for mandated reporters to not report suspected abuse. As the most powerful woman in the Maine House of Representatives, Speaker Gideon held the gavel, but she chose, instead, to keep Maine’s weak, outdated, child protective legislation. Instead of choosing to protect children, she chose to protect perpetrators. (LD1919)
House Democrats, led by Sarah Gideon, also failed to join dozens of other states to support a bill to criminalize Female Genital Mutilation/ Cutting (FGM/C). Hundreds of young girls in Maine are at risk. Initially, she was a co-sponsor of the bill to prohibit this horrific cultural practice, which leaves young girls scarred physically and emotionally for life, but later changed her mind. Members of her caucus screamed racism.
Maine is only one of 11 states without anti-FGM laws. At the time, Assistant District Attorney, Maeghan Maloney, testified in Committee hearings that in order to successfully prosecute FGM offenders, a state law was needed. https://legislature.maine.gov/legis/bills/getTestimonyDoc.asp?id=76801
You can’t say you care about children and not be willing to strengthen regulations to ensure mandated reporters do their job.
You can’t say you care about children and not be willing to affirmatively pass legislation prohibiting the heinous practice of FGM.
And, you can’t say you will stand up for women’s and girl’s rights when you sit on allegations of sexual misconduct and do nothing for months on end.
Sarah Gideon is the common denominator in three separate incidents with ignored opportunities to help protect those who need us the most.
To us, this reveals significant character flaws in Sarah Gideon.
Deb Sanderson lives in Chelsea
Paula G. Sutton lives in Warren
Rep. Heather W. Sirocki lives in Scarborough