PHOENIX — Another woman has come forward to say she was sexually harassed by state Rep. Don Shooter, the Arizona Capitol Times reports, which brings the number to nine.
Tara Zika, director of business development at Ashton Tiffany LLC, a Phoenix-based insurance risk-management firm, told the Arizona Capitol Times that Shooter made sexual comments and obscene gestures to her during the August meeting of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
The newspaper reported Monday that Zika said she was standing with some other men when they waved her over to their table.
She said she left after Shooter, a 65-year-old Yuma Republican, blew her a kiss and made a sexually suggestive comment about her legs.
Later at the conference, she alleges, Shooter made a comment about wanting to have sex with her. Zika told the paper she rolled her eyes and kept walking. But then, as she turned around to ensure Shooter was not following her to her hotel room, she saw him make a gesture to mimic oral sex on a woman, she said.
At that point, she told the paper, she confronted him. Zika said he apologized but mocked her when he saw her during the rest of the conference.
The newspaper quotes her saying the whole thing was “undermining and humiliating.”
According to the Capitol Times, Zika’s boyfriend and another friend, neither of whom were identified, confirmed she told them about the incident shortly afterwards.
Shooter declined late Monday to comment about the latest allegations.
Matt Specht, spokesman for House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, said the investigative team his boss named last week to look into prior allegations against Shooter was unaware of the latest complaint until the newspaper publication.
“Given her public allegations, investigators will be reaching out to her soon,” Specht said.
The list of women who have made complaints about Shooter, either to the House or to reporters, also includes three current lawmakers, three lobbyists, the publisher of the Arizona Republic and an intern at the Capitol Times.
On Friday, Mesnard suspended Shooter from his position as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee as well as from any involvement in preparation of the estimated $10 billion state spending plan for the coming budget year.
Since the first allegations, Shooter has hired new legal help. He told Capitol Media Services that Daniel Pasternak has a “more specialized” practice than prior attorney Melissa Ho.
Pasternak said his sole role is to represent Shooter in the House proceedings.
“We’ve had some communications with people at the Legislature about how that investigation is going to be conducted and making sure that it’s fair for all participants, both accusers and accused,” he said.
“But beyond that, we’re not really going to comment,” Pasternak said. “We’re going to let the process play itself out.”
The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which has supported Shooter in prior campaigns, called last week for him to resign, calling the allegations “deeply disturbing.”