(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) — A five-time Connecticut state representative issued an apology and was stripped of his leadership post for what some people construed as a lewd remark to a teenage girl.
“If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here,” State Rep. Ernest Hewett can be heard telling a 17-year-old girl during a Feb. 20 committee meeting.
The teenager had just testified in support of more funding for the Connecticut Science Center’s ambassador program.
She had told lawmakers that by participating in the program, which included handling snakes and turtles, she had become more outgoing.
Hewett told ABC News’ New Haven affiliate WTNH-TV that he meant nothing sexual by the comment.
“I have apologized to her for what was taken out of context,” he said.
In a statement, Matt Fleury, the president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center said he believed the apology was sincere and passed it on to the student, who also accepted it.
Since the incident, Hewett has been removed as deputy speaker of the House, but some Republicans are calling for even stronger action, calling Hewett’s comment a “disgrace and embarrassment.”
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Dylan Byers, CNN
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Ariane de Vogue and Laura Jarrett, CNN