Laura Bonar’s harassment claim affirmed by colleagues. Progress Now launches petition for Trujillo to resign. Rep. Deborah Armstrong indicates two other women have stepped forward.
Carl Trujillo lashed out at Laura Bonar on his Facebook page when she accused him of sexual harassment. The following day his supporters posted more “proof” that purported to refute Bonar’s assertions. Late yesterday corroborating evidence surfaced from two other women, one from Jessica Johnson, who described conversations with Bonar in 2015 when she warned her of Carl Trujillo and described his harassment of her. The second letter from Elisabeth Jennings clearly describes how the retaliation Bonar had asserted played out.
In addition, the Albuquerque Journal reports that Rep. Deborah Armstrong has confirmed that two other women had confided in her about being sexually harassed by Rep. Trujillo. “There are other women who have confided in me with very credible stories with witnesses,” Armstrong said, “and so it increases for me the veracity of Laura’s complaint.” Another Democratic House Rep., Christine Trujillo from Albuquerque, has also indicated that based upon what she knows, she believes Bonar’s charges. Click here to read the Journal report.
ProgressNow has called upon Trujillo to resign. And that was before news of the two letters below were published. Click here to sign the petition.
It is hard to know how Trujillo and his supporters will react now. I have come to appreciate why there are so many strong supporters of Trujillo and why his advocacy on their part in relation to water and easement issues trumps some very bad votes. But this rises above ‘bad votes.’ So today, I present both letters in their entirety below.
In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne.
Statement by Jessica Johnson, Chief Legislative Officer for Animal Protection Voters, May 3, 2018
I began working in my current capacity as a lobbyist for Animal Protection Voters (APV) in June 2015. Later that year in 2015, as I was preparing to work in my first New Mexico state legislative session, I had a conversation with Laura Bonar about any advice she could give me regarding working in the Roundhouse based on her past experience lobbying on behalf of APV.
During this conversation, Ms. Bonar warned me to be careful while lobbying in the Roundhouse; for example, to avoid being alone with certain male legislators. One of the legislators she named in this conversation was Carl Trujillo. She did not give me extensive details, but she did share that he made sexual or romantic advances on her, that she rejected his advances but tried to do so in a way that wouldn’t offend or embarrass him, and regardless he got angry and afterward he stopped responding to her attempts to contact him regarding legislation. She asked me to keep this story in confidence.
Some may wonder why–up until this point–I have continued to work with and support Mr. Trujillo. My answer includes several reasons:
- I believed it was not ethical for me to share Ms. Bonar’s story without her approval.
- I believed that her request for confidentiality was out of fear for retaliation against her personally as well as APV, and that sexual harassment was an inescapable part of the Roundhouse.
- I felt that unless and until Ms. Bonar wanted to publicly share her story and/or take action, it was my responsibility to keep my promise to her to keep it confidential and to do my job to the best of my ability–which included aiming to forge a positive working relationship with Mr. Trujillo once he had decided to sponsor pro-animal legislation, just as I would with any other legislator.
- Only in the last few days, with Ms. Bonar going public with what happened to her, have I learned the full extent and severity of Carl Trujillo’s sexual harassment against her, as well as the retaliatory impact her rejection of his advances had on legislation that Animal Protection Voters actively supported in 2014 and his refusal to communicate with any APV staff for the remainder of the 2014 legislative session.
It is at this time–now that Ms. Bonar has come out publicly with her story and amidst efforts to damage her credibility–that I feel it is my duty to share that Ms. Bonar alluded to Mr.Trujillo’s inappropriate behavior to me in 2015. I have no cause to think she shared her story with me in 2015 for any purpose other than to help protect me from sexual harassment as I was starting my job with APV. Nothing at any point has ever caused me to doubt the veracity of Ms. Bonar’s story. At no time have I been in contact with Mr. Trujillo’s primary opponent’s campaign or representatives, nor have I ever expressed interest in supporting Mr. Trujillo’s opponent. I was not involved in Ms. Bonar’s decision to publish an open letter nor the timing of her letter. I am expecting that my work in the Roundhouse may become more difficult now that her allegations are public and our organization supports her. Nonetheless, I fully support Ms. Bonar’s efforts to hold Mr. Trujillo–a law maker that sacrificed animal protection legislation in order to punish a lobbyist for rejecting his sexual advances–accountable for his actions.
Statement from Elisabeth Jennings, Executive Director of Animal Protection Voters, May 2018
With regard to 2014 animal legislation that stalled, on his Facebook page Rep. Carl Trujillo says “HB20 looks like it died, but it didn’t. We just found the money another way, and anyone at APV would know that.”
Here are the facts about House Bill (HB)20, a bill that was seeking $250,000 in state funding for spay/neuter services. I know these facts because I was personally involved in securing the funding that year.
After HB20 passed one House committee, Rep. Trujillo was not involved whatsoever in helping secure the funding that was eventually approved in 2014. What actually happened was this.
The request for spay/neuter funding had not been included in the original budget, and the deadline for state budget amendments was quickly approaching. I repeatedly contacted Rep. Trujillo to see if he could help us get the content of HB20 included in the final version of the budget. Rep.Trujillo completely ignored my messages asking for his help in the crucial last days and hours that mattered for the budget. I didn’t know why at the time, as Rep. Trujillo was usually very responsive to our organization, but I do now. Laura’s letter provides the missing piece of the puzzle.
Determined to try to get the spay/neuter funding without Rep. Trujillo’s help, I went to Senator Richard Martinez and asked him to start from scratch to help us, and he agreed to author a Senate amendment to the budget. That amendment was created, subsequently included in the budget, and approved by the Governor, resulting in $100,000 in spay/neuter funds for needy animals around the state – less than half of what we had originally sought.
Page 3 of APV’s 2014 scorecard (found at apvnm.org) memorializes the effort described above, recognizing Senator Richard Martinez for introducing Senate Amendment #378 to HAFC/HB2 (state budget). Rep. Carl Trujillo is not mentioned or thanked for any role in securing the funding because he ultimately was not involved in helping us secure the funds.
In Rep. Trujillo’s post-2014 session email correspondence with constituents (sent on Feb. 27, 2014), his reference to HB20 and the spay/neuter funding clearly indicates he thought there was no success in securing funds. Yet there was, just not with his involvement. Here’s an excerpt from his correspondence:
HB20 allocated $250,000 for statewide spay/neuter programs to bring down our state’s unacceptably high pet euthanasia rate. Unfortunately, HB20 was hung up in House Appropriations, but we’re still hard at work figuring out more ways to protect the animals that are an important part of our community. Thank you to Animal Protection Voters for their hard work on this one — we’re going to keep working to protect our animals!
I emailed him the next day to let him know APV had been successful at securing the funding, even without his help. Here is that email thread:
From: Carl Trujillo <email@example.com> Date: February 28, 2014, 1:30:13 PM CST To: Lisa Jennings <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Spay neuter money
I am ecstatic! Thank you for all your hard work. Best.
Carl (and Faith!)
On Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 8:27AM, Lisa Jennings <email@example.com> wrote: Hi rep.Trujillo
I’m sorry if you missed my messages about this during the session but we were able to get $100k in the state budget for spay neuter. It went in as a senate amendment from senator Richard Martinez.Thanks.
Sent from my iPhone
As to questions about why Animal Protection Voters would continue to work with Rep. Carl Trujillo following the 2013/2014 session, the answer is simple: we did not know the extent of his bad conduct at the time. It was only very recently that I learned of the sexual harassment of one of our staff by Rep. Trujillo. Until I learned of this sexual harassment, I had no reason to have APV refrain from working with Rep. Trujillo.
APV and its officers have nothing to gain by calling for Rep. Trujillo’s resignation. In fact, we have much to lose by doing so, in terms of both political and financial backing from his supporters. We have made the conscious decision to accept these losses because the importance of protecting our staff from abuses of power transcends any political calculus. We trust that the people of New Mexico understand and respect that.