A former lobbyist has been forbidden from entering or coming within 1,000 feet of the Missouri Capitol over allegations that he sexually harassed legislative interns.
A Cole County judge has issued a restraining order against David Poger, who, according to Missouri Ethics Commission files, was last registered as a lobbyist in 2011. A hearing on the order is set for 1:30 p.m. March 14.
The restraining order was requested by both the House and Senate after an intern reported last month that Poger made her “feel uncomfortable.”
“After trying pleasantly to show I was not interested in having a conversation, he continued to try and communicate with me,” the intern said in an affidavit. “He started to make compliments towards me and started to make me feel uncomfortable. I excused myself and left the vicinity he occupied.”
Poger allegedly continued to approach the intern, including in the side gallery of the Missouri House, asking her to lunch. The intern’s boss contacted Poger’s superior, the affidavit says, and he kept his distance from the intern but winked at her when he saw her.
Two other interns made similar complaints, saying Poger made repeated comments about their appearance. At one point, an intern said he used his finger to push on the intern pin attached to her lapel and asked, “Is this harassment?”
Poger could not be immediately reached for comment. According to his LinkedIn page, Poger is the senior managing director for Public/Private Sector Strategies. It’s unclear why Poger was regularly in the Missouri Capitol, since he hasn’t been registered to lobby in Missouri in five years.
Last year, dozens of women — including current and former interns, staff, lobbyists and legislators — told The Star a culture of sexual harassment was pervasive in the Capitol.
Since then, and in response to a pair of former lawmakers who were forced to resign over inappropriate conduct with interns, the Missouri House enacted new sexual harassment and intern policies.