On Wednesday afternoon, Central Washington University released attorney Trish Murphy's 85-page report containing allegations that Rep. Matt Manweller demonstrated "unprofessional and inappropriate behavior with gender-based and sexual overtones." The 15 accounts (with witnesses) detailed in the report were issued by current or former students of Manweller's between 2004 and 2017. Read the full report here.
A little over a month after Murphy turned in her report, CWU administrators fired Manweller, who was a tenured professor of political science at the university, for his "failure to maintain acceptable standards of professional ethics and conduct in accordance with the 'Professional Responsibilities' and 'Conflicts of Interest' provisions" of his faculty contract. In the termination letter, Tim Englund, Dean of College of the Sciences, stated that Manweller also contacted students while on administrative leave and failed to "respect the integrity of the investigation process."
Manweller authorized the university to release Murphy's report ahead of its August 27 deadline, though he could have done so much earlier. State public records law required CWU to give its employee two weeks to request a court order blocking the release of the report. But instead of authorizing the release during that time, Manweller attempted to discredit the whole thing by attacking Murphy in the press, publishing a video response to the report even though the report wasn't yet public, and suing the school for wrongful termination.
In a statement today, Manweller continues to question Murphy's credibility and claims that no woman has ever filed "an actual complaint" against him.
Murphy declined to comment. A representative for CWU hasn't returned my request for comment.
Though Manweller claims no woman has filed a complaint, the very first story in Murphy's report comes from legislative assistant who told the Seattle Times she complained to a supervisor and later to the House Counsel about Manweller trying to turn meetings into dates. I wrote about Manweller using his power to waste this woman's god damned time when the story first emerged late last year.
In his attempts to discredit Murphy's report, Manweller ran to conservative news outlets with a video included as evidence in this woman's story of the legislator looking her up and down. Todd Herman argued that the video shows "nothing approaching a #MeToo moment," but he did so without providing any context for the video whatsoever. The video is included as one piece of evidence in a two-page, single-spaced story about Manweller apparently trying to use the power of his position to woo a subordinate and former student. Throughout the report, multiple women claim Manweller looked them up and down and acted like a creep during initial meetings. The video gives us some tangible evidence of that.
Manweller's babysitter claims he hit on her a lot:
A former student claimed Manweller essentially offered her good grades for sexual favors in 2009:
Manweller claims he doesn't remember much of this conversation, but he does remember he didn't touch this woman's knee. As for the implied exchange of good grades for sex, he says:
Murphy spoke with another student Manweller allegedly touched and kissed in his office. Her story was included in the university's 2012 investigation of Manweller, but Murphy interviewed her again at the behest of the woman's mother.
The investigator in the 2012 report claimed "evidence exists to suggest Dr. Manweller engaged in conduct with or toward [this woman] in violation of the University's sexual harassment policy." The university reprimanded Manweller but declined to discipline him because too much time had passed, for them, between the event and the investigation. Here's part of the woman's story:
Manweller didn't answer Murphy's questions about this woman's story, noting that the investigation into this matter was already complete.
Another of Manweller's former students claimed he made inappropriate comments after looking at her body.
The woman also provided evidence of Manweller contacting her through Facebook during the investigation, which is one of the reasons the university gives for firing him.
In her analysis of the case, Murphy includes a list of the allegations against Manweller and asks "What are the changes that a blameless person would be repeatedly accused of such similar, inappropriate conduct?"
This list presents the context Manweller has excluded in his attempts to control the narrative of this story and discredit Murphy's report. If he truly believed this list of accusations was immaterial, there's no good reason for him to have run around telling everyone his side of the story while taking advantage of an administrative delay to silence these women.