Former Game & Fish chairman accused of sexual harassment

2013-04-19T00:00:00Z Former Game & Fish chairman accused of sexual harassmentThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Jack Husted, who recently resigned as chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, was the subject of multiple allegations of sexual harassment by state employees.

The Arizona Republic reported that records indicate that Game and Fish Department workers told a human-resources supervisor that Husted gave them surprise hugs and made inappropriate suggestions.

Husted unexpectedly resigned as commission chairman last week, saying in his April 11 resignation letter to Gov. Jan Brewer that he had decided to "embark on a new chapter" in his life.

Husted didn't return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.

However, the Republic reported Husted said in a statement that he apologized for any misunderstanding resulting from what he called his "personal style of communication."

"I am just a man from rural Arizona where a handshake and a hug and the trading of a joke are part of normal human contact," Husted said in the statement.

Husted's resignation letter didn't mention the allegations, but department officials said he was told of them days before and was cautioned at that point by agency Director Larry Voyles against untoward conduct with female employees.

Gary Hovatter, special assistant to Voyles, said no formal harassment complaints were lodged against Husted.

The human-resources supervisors looked into the matter because rumors were circulating, but Hovatter said no further investigation is planned because Husted is no longer a commissioner.

The five-member Game and Fish Commission establishes policies for guiding the management and preservation of wildlife. That includes the state's hunting and fishing rules and regulations for watercraft and off-highway vehicles.

Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson said the governor did not ask Husted to leave but accepted his resignation and is comfortable with the inquiry and outcome.

"This was handled with great speed and handled appropriately by Game and Fish," Benson said.

Brewer appointed Husted in April 2009 to a term that was to expire in January 2014.

Husted gained notoriety last year after he took a friend's 13-year-old son out shooting in Springerville and let him kill a prairie dog.

He self-reported the out-of-season kill but pleaded not guilty and complained about getting a misdemeanor citation. The case was eventually dismissed by prosecutors.

A biography recently removed from the Game and Fish website said Husted is married and serves as a deacon of his church in Springerville.

It also described him as a former Eager Town Council member and as a former Pima County sheriff's deputy.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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