Annapolis lobbyist and former District 16 delegate Gil Genn apologized in an open letter he released Monday night for describing state Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Rockville) as “delusional” after she accused him of inappropriately touching her last week.
Genn wrote that he first found out from a Baltimore Sun reporter that Kagan had accused him of putting his hand on her “tush” at an Annapolis bar Thursday night.
“I was shocked and stunned,” Genn wrote. “Regrettably, I reacted viscerally in my shocked state of mind. In the heat of that moment I used the inartful word to describe Senator Kagan’s allegations as ‘delusional.’ I wish I did not use that term, and I wish I could retract it, and I apologize for it.”
However, Genn pushed back against Kagan’s memory of the events. He said he saw her at the Castle Bay bar in Annapolis on March 1 as he was leaving, briefly greeted her and left.
“I kept my hands to myself. I didn’t even shake her hand,” Genn wrote. “I did not run my hand down her back or down to her tush. And I especially and consciously avoided the all too common Annapolis legislative ‘hug’ many legislators use to greet one another.”
Kagan issued a statement in response saying that she stood by her recollection of events and that she was “disappointed that he would fabricate such an obviously self-serving statement of absurd denial.”
Kagan publicly named Genn in a statement released Friday in which she accused him of touching her inappropriately at the bar. She said at the time she decided to name him in response to the #MeToo movement and to try to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Genn wrote in his three-page statement that he supports the #MeToo movement and believes women should speak out against sexual harassment and inappropriate touching. However, he wrote that “due process is also important.”
“There needs to be a venue where all parties have a full, fair and impartial hearing,” Genn wrote. “Most accusations have merit, and it takes courage for the victim to come forward. But some are false, and real victims are hurt by the false allegations of others. Senator Kagan’s allegation is completely false. I thus welcome a fair and impartial inquiry by the State Ethics Commission to investigate her false allegation.”
Genn is a partner at the Annapolis-based firm Bellamy Genn Group and previously served as the delegate from Bethesda-based District 16 from 1987 to 1999.
Genn issued the statement on the same day that three state delegates testified in favor of a bill that aims to take politics out of investigating future harassment complaints leveled in the General Assembly. Two Montgomery County delegates, Ariana Kelly (D-Bethesda) and Marcie Morales (D-Silver Spring), told a House committee that they had been sexually harassed while working at the Statehouse, but felt uncomfortable providing details about the incidents because they feared political retaliation, according to The Baltimore Sun.