Investigation confirms Ranker violated state senate's anti-harrassment policy

The 10-page report  compiled by the investigator hired by the state Senate after complaints were filed by a former employee of state Senator Kevin Ranker concludes that the the senator did violate the Senate's policies prohibiting harrassment. 

"Multiple witnesses including collegues, Complainant's supervisors, and legislators who interacted with Complainant at the time, corraborated  her assertion that Respondent's conduct caused her significant emotional distress. Multiple witnesses also stated that Complainant specifically told them about some or all the types of mistreatment alleged above. And several witnesses reported observing Respondent treat Complainant and/or others in abrasive hostile ways that were consistent with Complainant's allegations. Moreover many witnesses - including some Respondent wanted interviewed for this investigation - described behavior by Respondent that was unprofessional and upsetting to some people. 

"None of the witnesses said they had any basis to believe that Respondent's treatment of Complainant was motivated by specifically retaliatory animus towards her. Instead, many witnesses stated that respondent engaged in that type of contact many times with respect to many people when he was displeased with their positions on issues he was passionate about. Witnesses provided numerous examples of Respondent expressing negative opinions in unprofessionally harsh terms, and with aggressive vocal tones and body language."

Ann Larson first worked with Kevin Ranker when he was a county commissioner and she was the clerk or the Board of County Commissioners. They both acknowledged they had a brief affair during that time. After he was elected to the state Senate, she took a job in his Anacortes office before moving to Olympia to work in his senate office there. 

She spoke with senate offficials in 2010 about harassment at his office. Ranker was told of the complaints and apologized. 

Larson had left Ranker's office and worked for another state agency in 2011. 

In 2018, the senate adopted new procedures to handle complaints.

Larson filed complaints of harrassment in the fall of 2018 including that Ranker threatened to stop funding her commission. 

The investigation found that: a preponderance of the evidence does not support a finding that Respondent directly or indirectly attempted to use his official authority and influence in retribution for, or out of retaliatory animus related to Complainant's 2010 complaint. 

"However, the information obtained in this investigation does support a finding that Respondent engaged in behavior  that had the purpose and effect of interfering with Complainant's work performance and creating a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment with respect to Complainant's official efforts to advance the interests of the agency she worked for."

The entire report can be read here.

Ranker resigned in early January before the report was completed.  

 

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