Report: House lawmaker sent inappropriate text messages

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — An outside investigation has found that Rep. David Sawyer sent a House employee numerous “inappropriate and offensive” text messages over a period of three months.

An executive summary of the report, released Monday, also says that he made comments and jokes about another employee’s sexual orientation, and used employees’ time to discuss a newspaper’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.

The full report —which was not released publicly — comes a month after Sawyer was temporarily suspended from his position as chairman of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee. In an email sent to Democratic House members sharing the executive summary Monday, House Democratic leaders wrote that they are recommending that he be permanently removed as chairman.

Earlier this year, public radio’s Northwest News Network and The News Tribune/Olympian reported that several women had accused Sawyer of inappropriate or harassing behavior both before and after he was elected to the Legislature in 2012. Sawyer’s interaction with staff has been restricted since February.