Frye-Mueller Says Accusations Based On Misunderstanding, Senate Actions “Extreme”


      A special 9-member committee of the South Dakota State Senate is set to begin work today investigating the actions of Senator Julie Frye-Mueller that led to her suspension from the Senate last week.

The panel’s report is due at the end of this week.

    Frye-Mueller, whose district includes Fall River County, was stripped of her committee assignments on Wednesday and suspended on Thursday for what Senate Majority Leader Casey Crabtree called harassing a legislative aide during an exchange over childhood vaccines and breastfeeding.

    Frye-Mueller issued a written statement Saturday that described the allegations as being based on a misunderstanding she had with a woman she considered a friend and who had confided intimate and personal details to her about a maternal issue.

      The two-term Senator said she’d passed along “in a private and confidential conversation between women” advice she’d received as a young mother, and that it’s “unfortunate” the woman had any “misunderstanding” about her advice and intention to help with her situation.

     Frye-Mueller also said she would not go into any detail about their conversation because it was “in confidence,” and that she will “continue to respect that confidence and her privacy regarding the details of that issue.”

     Frye-Mueller then blasted the Senate for what she called its “extreme and egregious actions” and for several individual lawmakers comparing the situation to that a few years ago of a male senator accused of sexually molesting a male page. 

    She complained that the Senate had stripped her of all her rights and was “disenfranchising the great people of District 30 and their right to representation in the Senate.” 

     As for the committee that’s beginning its investigation today, Frye-Mueller said “I look forward to the opportunity to a fair hearing and the opportunity to defend myself against accusations that may be alleged.”