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Former Bullock aide had prior history of sexual-harassment accusation, firing

Posted at 2:21 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 16:26:36-05

HELENA – The New York Times reported this week that a former top aide to Gov. Steve Bullock, who resigned from the New York mayor’s office last year in the wake of sexual-harassment accusations, was also fired at the Democratic Governors Association in 2015 for the same reason, when Bullock was its chair.

Kevin O’Brien, who ran Bullock’s 2012 gubernatorial campaign and later went to work for the governors association and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, resigned last year from his job as senior adviser to de Blasio after being accused of sexually harassing two women.

The Times first reported the reasons for O’Brien’s March 2018 resignation two weeks ago.

The newspaper reported Monday that O’Brien was hired by de Blasio in early 2016, as deputy chief of staff, within a month after being fired from the Democratic Governors Association in December 2015 after being accused of sexually harassing a female employee there.

Bullock “was among those who knew the reason” for O’Brien’s firing, the Times reported.

DeBlasio’s office told the New York Times the mayor hadn’t known about O’Brien’s dismissal from the DGA or its reason.

In a statement provided to the Times and MTN News, Bullock said he was “deeply troubled” to learn of the circumstances of O’Brien’s 2018 resignation at the mayor’s office. He also confirmed that he knew about the sexual-harassment complaint filed against O’Brien by a female staffer at the Democratic Governors Association and “fully agreed” with the group’s decision to fire him in December 2015.

“It’s clear that was not enough to protect these women (in New York) from what has proven to be an unacceptable pattern of behavior on his part,” Bullock said. “We all have a responsibility to do better and to put an end to sexual harassment, and I’m committed to doing my part.”

Bullock’s office also said no incidents of sexual harassment by O’Brien were reported to Bullock or his office while O’Brien worked for him at the governor’s office and Montana attorney general’s office.

In addition to running Bullock’s 2012 campaign, O’Brien also worked for Bullock when he was state attorney general and as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Bullock in 2013.

He went to work for the Democratic Governors Association in early 2015, when Bullock chaired the group.

After resigning from the New York mayor’s office in March 2018, O’Brien was hired by Hilltop Public Solutions, a political consultancy in New York. Hilltop fired O’Brien this month after the Times reported on the reasons for his 2018 resignation.

In a statement, O’Brien has said he is “embarrassed and ashamed” of his actions, said he has apologized to the “people I’ve hurt” and that there’s “no excuse” for how he behaved.

Story by Mike Dennison, MTN News