Page says he’s waiting on police report on office sex tape, Fitch pushing new law
What happens next in the fallout from a now-former county employee taping a sex act in the county building is in the hands of the State Highway Patrol, but that’s not enough for one member of the St. Louis County Council.
Cal Harris, county Executive Sam Page’s chief of staff, resigned his $156,000-a-year job, which he had held for six months, immediately after he was questioned about the video by the Highway Patrol last week.
Page said during a media briefing Wednesday morning that it is no longer a county matter.
“There was an inappropriate act in the county building. That was wrong. A video was made. That was wrong. And the video was distributed, and that was wrong. The Highway Patrol is investigating,” Page said. “They will determine what crimes were committed, and we’ll wait for their report.”
But possible criminal action for recording and distributing the video isn’t enough for Councilman Tim Fitch, R-St. Louis County.
“This is our issue. We have to send a message that this isn’t acceptable behavior in our county,” Fitch said Wednesday.
He is planning to introduce legislation that would make it a misdemeanor for any county employee to engage in any act of a sexual nature while on county property or in a county vehicle.
If convicted, offenders could face up to a year in prison. Currently, a county employee found in such a situation can only be fired.
“If the only thing that happens to you is you have to go look for another job, that’s not enough,” Fitch said. “Try looking for another job if you have been charged and convicted of a crime. Hopefully that will be enough of a deterrent.”
The county council could consider Fitch’s proposal as soon as their next meeting on Tuesday.
Page said Wednesday he hasn’t seen the tape and doesn’t know anything else about it.
“What happened is I asked Cal, ‘Why was the Highway Patrol here?’ He said, ‘There was a video, and I’m resigning.’ I said, ‘I accept your resignation, send us an email’; 30 minutes later I got an email,” Page said.
Harris could face criminal charges if he recorded the act without the woman’s consent and also if he distributed it.
The video was sent from an anonymous email account to state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, who is a candidate for county executive, who then sent it to Councilman Mark Harder, R-Ballwin. Harder turned it over to police. Harder and Fitch have been frequent critics of Page, who is running for reelection in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary.
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