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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Democratic Party leaders are calling on longtime Utah state Sen. Gene Davis to step down amid a probe of misconduct allegations launched last week, which they say has uncovered "multiple credible allegations of misconduct."
Thom DeSirant, the executive director of the party, said the Utah Democratic Party Executive Committee also voted on Friday to extend Davis' temporary suspension to include "all party events at any level," pending the outcome of an independent investigation that the Utah State Senate also announced last week.
Both Utah Democratic Party leaders and the Utah State Senate began investigating Davis after a former intern took to social media to accuse the senator of inappropriate touching during her internship earlier this year. Davis has not returned KSL.com's calls for comment, but did deny the allegation in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune last week.
In the email to party members originally sent Friday, DeSirant wrote that the party's investigation uncovered enough that party leaders asked Davis to "voluntarily step down" before extending his suspension.
"(We) believe the behavior he acknowledged, regardless of context or intent, was unacceptable," DeSirant wrote. "Ultimately, we find ourselves faced with multiple credible allegations of misconduct by Sen. Davis and must err in favor of the safety and well-being of our members."
The party director added that Utah Democrats want the final results of the Senate's investigation handed over to them once the investigation wraps up for "further review and action." DeSirant added that the party is reviewing its anti-harassment procedures for future improvements.
Davis, of Salt Lake City, has served in the Utah Legislature since 1987. He began in the House of Representatives before moving to Senate in 1999, though he was ousted by community organizer Nate Blouin in the Democratic Party's primary election earlier this year before the allegations emerged.