BOSTON (AP/WBZ-AM) -- A debate in the Massachusetts House on new procedures for handling sexual harassment allegations has taken a dramatic turn after a lawmaker recalled her experiences as a 26-year-old staffer in the building.
Democratic state Rep. Diana DiZoglio told her fellow lawmakers she was forced to leave her job as a legislative aide in 2011 and pressured into signing a non-disclosure agreement after false rumors spread that she and a state representative had engaged in inappropriate behavior.
She was cleared after weeks of investigation--but she said talk persisted in the house, leading her boss to ask her to leave.
Then, she said Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo's office refused to release a six-week severance package "unless I signed a non-disclosure agreement, including a non-disparagement agreement that legally bound me from discussing what had happened, and from criticizing any past, present, or future elected members of this House."
DiZoglio broke that agreement Thursday, before the House passed restrictions on non-disclosures--though not an outright ban as she had requested.
DeLeo said neither he nor his staff told DiZoglio she couldn't talk about the incident while she was a House employee.
The speaker also said DiZoglio was told she could speak to the media after the investigation.
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