As AG, Hatfield would work to prevent sexual harassment

Having recently read an opinion column written by The Day's David Collins, I was disappointed to discover that he is openly supporting my opponent, William Tong, for attorney general without ever meeting with or speaking to me.

From the time I first announced my campaign for attorney general, I have openly discussed issues impacting the state of Connecticut and traveled thousands of miles across the state talking to residents. I've spoken with and responded to reporters every time I've been asked for comment or to be a guest on a show.

I'm personally responding to the column by Collins because I will not let a man I've never met call me inaccessible, which is untrue, or otherwise smear my name. Contrary to Collins’ assertion, he never reached out to me directly or through my campaign spokesman.

Notably, a reporter from The Boston Globe recently sent an email to my official spokesman to ask if I would investigate the allegation that Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman while he was a student at Yale. I instantly responded to his request for comment (just as I would if Collins had done the same).

As I told the Globe's reporter, as Connecticut's attorney general I will make it a top priority to address sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination. My knowledge and background as a state prosecutor will enable me to work closely with the Division of Criminal Justice to help prevent sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unlawful discrimination in our workplaces, on college campuses, and anywhere else claims may arise.

All such claims should be taken seriously. Having said that, it is important to recognize that in Connecticut, sexual assault matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Division of Criminal Justice, not the attorney general.

Collins' biographical sketch on theday.com indicates he has covered court cases. Though he never went to law school, Collins surely knows what makes our nation's judicial system the best in the world is its cornerstone: You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. As a prosecutor, I conduct a meticulous review of evidence and carefully assess facts before making a case as to whether a person has broken the law.

What is so troubling is that my opponent obviously thinks otherwise. William Tong − who aspires to be state attorney general − quickly determined without any documented evidence that Judge Kavanaugh is guilty. This is the height of irresponsibility, mocks our constitutional rights, and is a dangerous quality in an attorney general, the state's top law enforcement official.

Unlike my opponent, I will not call on Judge Kavanaugh, who claims his innocence, to step away without seeing more evidence. Kavanaugh's accusers should have their voices heard, and their allegations should be investigated. But for now, the judge deserves the presumption of innocence. That is America.

Therefore, I support the decision to ask for the FBI to investigate these claims. I will not pass judgment on this matter, however, until the evidence is presented by the FBI.

Residents of Connecticut can trust that I will be an attorney general who places a high value on integrity and fairness. I will not pronounce someone guilty until the facts are in.

Sadly, we can't say the same for William Tong, or, it would appear, David Collins.

Sue Hatfield is the Republican candidate for attorney general. She is also endorsed by the Independent Party.

Editor's note: David Collins discovered after publication of his column that his email seeking comment from the Hatfield campaign did not go through. He has offered to do a follow-up interview with the candidate. As of Thursday, she had yet to accept.

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