State government sexual misbehavior part of the problem

Sexual misconduct in a variety of forms in a seemingly endless array of settings was the great shame uncovered in 2017.

That shame, as detailed in a recent Associated Press story, included all three branches of Pennsylvania state government.

The claims included unwelcome touching, kissing and crude comments.

All of that is shameful. The shame is multiplied when we find out taxpayer money was used to settle claims and investigate complaints over the past eight years.

The running total of disclosed payments to settle all this unacceptable behavior now stands at more than $369,000. The tally goes back to settlements for unacceptable behavior dating to 2010.

The regular, workaday Pennsylvanian can be forgiven for incredulousness at all of this. Who authorized setting up such a fund? In what universe would this be a taxpayer eligible expense? Was it going on before 2010?

Of course, none of this includes the obvious revelation: People with some obviously major moral shortcomings are in positions to make major decisions regarding the operations of Pennsylvania state government.

According to the AP story, those positions for which funds have been used to settle complaints include elected state senators and representatives, the court system and major state administrative positions.

Readers don’t need us to repeat the details behind the claims and the settlements.

All they know is that sexual misconduct is wrong in any venue, but it’s especially abhorrent when the people we put in places of public trust abuse their position and the people who put them there with such behavior.

In 2018, the stains of sexual misconduct need to be scrubbed away and there needs to be a new era of understanding that marks all of this behavior as unacceptable.