Former Sen. McGee sentenced to 90 days in jail
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Former Republican state Sen. John McGee was led Tuesday from a Boise courtroom in handcuffs after being sentenced to 44 days in jail for disturbing the peace - a charge linked to allegations that he sexually harassed a 25-year-old woman working for him in the Legislature.
McGee was ordered to serve an additional 44 days for violating terms of probation stemming from a 2011 drunken driving conviction, though a judge didn't prohibit fulfilling that sentence through inmate labor detail or community service. He pleaded guilty to both misdemeanors Tuesday.
Fourth District Magistrate James Cawthon rejected a jail sentence of five days recommended jointly by prosecutors and the defense under a plea agreement, saying it didn't reflect the serious nature of the crime. Ada County prosecutors claim that early in the 2012 session, McGee subjected his female aide to a barrage of sexual innuendo.
McGee denies some of the allegations but took responsibility for disturbing the peace during an incident in early February, his attorney Scott McKay said.
The allegations resulted in McGee's departure from the Idaho Legislature later that month.
"On Feb. 7 I acted inappropriately. I used language that I should have not have used," McGee said in court. "I conducted myself in a way, your honor, that was offensive."
During the February incident, deputy prosecutor Jean Fisher said, McGee and the aide were alone in his office when he graphically demanded inappropriate sexual conduct. The woman was upset and able to leave the office but before exiting, McGee told her to say the incident never happened, prosecutors said.
The aide later told McGee his conduct was inappropriate, but the behavior continued, Fisher said.
The woman was satisfied with the proposed sentence requiring McGee to pay $500 in court costs and $960 in restitution while undergoing counseling and attending classes about having healthy relationships and setting appropriate boundaries.
"She is so ready to move on and be done with this process, which has been a horrible disruption in her life," Fisher said.
The proposed one-year probation, and a jail sentence of just five days that could be fulfilled through work detail or community service, wasn't enough to satisfy the judge, who had also overseen McGee's drunken driving case last summer.
The father of two was arrested after police said he took an SUV attached to a cargo trailer from the home of a stranger, got it stuck in a yard just down the street, and caused several thousand dollars in damage before falling asleep inside the vehicle.
Cawthon recalled how contrite McGee had been during his July 2011 sentencing in that case, and how he told the court his actions had been inconsistent with his beliefs. McGee choked back tears when detailing how he was going to take responsibility for his actions and do better.
"You talked about what lessons you were going to teach your children because of what happened," Cawthon said Tuesday, adding that he was "floored" to see McGee back in court. "And then seven months later, I get this. I've got you committing another crime."