Vermont Republican apologizes after caught repeatedly pouring water into colleague’s bag

Vermont Republican apologizes after caught repeatedly pouring water into colleague’s bag

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the town the members represent. They both represent Bennington, Vt.

Vermont state Rep. Mary Morrissey (R) publicly apologized Monday for her “disrespectful conduct” toward a Democratic colleague after reports suggested she was responsible for repeatedly pouring water into state Rep. Jim Carroll’s tote bag over the course of five months.

“I am truly ashamed for my actions,” Morrissey said in remarks on the floor of the statehouse on Monday. “I have given my sincere apology to Jim directly and publicly and will be working towards resolution and restoration through our legislative process.”

“It was conduct most unbecoming of my position as a representative and as a human being and is not reflective of my 28 years of service and civility that I do value towards my colleagues,” she continued.

“I hope Jim, my legislative colleagues, all of our statehouse staff and those who work in this building, and the citizens of Vermont can forgive me for my poor judgment and actions and allow me to take the necessary steps to repair what I have done,” she said.

Morrissey’s apology comes after Carroll, for five months, would repeatedly find his tote bag, which he reportedly carries between legislative meetings, drenched in water without any indication of what caused it.

Carroll told local media that he eventually placed a small camera near a committee coatroom to determine the cause of the wetness. In the footage, Carroll is seen checking his tote bag for wetness before a woman — who reportedly was identified by colleagues as Morrissey — follows closely behind and pours water into the bag.

In his response to Morrissey’s apology on Monday, Carroll described those five months as “torment.”

“To Representative Morrissey, I hear the sincerity in your voice and I got to be quite frank with you, and the body and our constituents and the people of Vermont,” he said. “For five months, I went through this, and each time — each day that I went through this — Representative Morrissey had a choice to make. And each time that she didn’t choose to either drop it or to come to me and say, ‘Look I’m sorry, we screwed up. Let’s put our heads together and try to serve our constituents the way they ought to be, and for that, I’m really sorry and sad that that happened.'”

“But frankly, you know, after five months of that — and it was, it was torment, there’s no doubt about it, with me anyway — there’s going to be some work to be done between the two of us and that first time that we sit down together, it’s going to be kind of awkward, but we have to start somewhere, so thank you,” Carroll said.

Carroll and Morrissey both represent Bennington, Vt.

Local media outlets obtained two videos that Carroll captured on the hidden camera after receiving numerous requests. Carroll said, according to local reports, he wanted to make clear that he was releasing the videos reluctantly, saying in a statement last week, “I did everything I could to keep this quiet, and within 24 hours it was out.”

“Over the past several weeks, I have been contacted by multiple members of the media requesting that I disclose video of inappropriate behavior directed at me by Representative Mary Morrissey. I have been very reluctant to disclose the video because I believe it will deeply embarrass Representative Morrissey,” Carroll said to local media at the time.

“However, it has become clear to me that the media are aware of the details of Representative Morrissey’s behavior, and likely will continue to report on that behavior in the near future,” he added, saying he thought “continued withholding of the video would not only subject me to more amplified media criticism, litigation and continued warnings of more litigation to follow. Additionally, as there is already a story in the news, I believe it is only right that I release the video to be fully transparent to my constituents and all Vermonters.”

The Hill has reached out to Carroll’s office for the videos and further comment and to Morrissey’s office for comment.

This story was updated at 10:28 p.m.

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