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Missouri House denounces St. Louis lawmaker for alleged harassment

Democratic Rep. Wiley Price denied having sex with the intern and said his former staffer made up the claims
Credit: AP
State Rep. Wiley Price IV, D-St. Louis, takes his seat on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, after being sworn into Missouri's 100th legislative session at the Jefferson City, Mo., Capitol building. The Ethics Committee launched an investigation of Price, a St. Louis Democrat, after a staffer reported that he admitted to having sex with the intern after a party at a local bar in January. The Ethics Committee found the staffer's report credible and on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, gave Price until Wednesday afternoon to resign. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House on Wednesday formally denounced a lawmaker accused of having sex with an intern and then lying while under investigation.

The House voted 140-3 to censure Democratic Rep. Wiley Price, of St. Louis, as unanimously recommended by the bipartisan House Ethics Committee.

A Republican-led effort to go a step further and kick him out of the House didn't muster enough support to pass and was withdrawn. Democrats argued that would be too harsh, and more than a dozen Republicans joined them in opposing Price's ouster.

The Ethics Committee found Price harassed and retaliated against his former staffer for reporting claims that he had sex with an intern in January 2020. The committee also concluded that Price lied while under investigation.

Price denied having sex with the intern and said his former staffer made up the claims. He told colleagues Wednesday that he panicked when first interviewed by investigators and denied texting and calling the intern, which wasn't true. He said he will accept being censured.

Price sat silently at his desk, gazing downward, as colleagues voted on his punishment. He declined to comment to reporters after his censure.