Several House members were disturbed, even shocked, when they saw Rep. Cary Allred embrace and kiss a teenage girl on the chamber floor, according to a report summarizing an investigation into the incident.
The report by House sergeant at arms, Bob Samuels, includes written statements from several lawmakers, including Allred. The report will be forwarded to the legislature's ethics committee, which would consider whether to take any action.
Allred, a Burlington Republican, says he was not drunk on April 27 when he hugged the page, the daughter of a neighbor and family friend.
"The page lives across the road from me and is like my granddaughter," Allred wrote. "Her parents stated...they have no problems with what I did and neither does she."
Others were concerned by what they saw that night. Rep. Paul Stam, the House Republican leader, and Rep. Thom Tillis, the House Republican whip, confronted Allred in the chamber, even before the hug because of his erratic behavior that night.
Tillis recounted that Allred said, "I am 62 years old, and I'm worth $2 million. People ought to show me respect."
Some time after that, several House members said they saw the embrace.
"Representative Allred had a female House Page in what seemed to be a never-ending embrace that resembled a gruesome bear hug," wrote Rep. Mitchell Setzer, a Catawba Republican. "When the embrace finally broke, Representative Allred stepped back for a moment and then he stepped forward and began the hugging procedure again. I have never witnessed anything as unsettling as this in the eleven years that I have been a member of the General Assembly."
More after the jump.
Rep. Wil Neumann, a Belmont Republican, wrote that Allred gave the page a "full-body hug."
"The 'bear hug' was first, inappropriate on the House floor between a member and a 17-year-old Page of the opposite sex, and second, the duration of the hug was excessive," Neumann wrote.
Rep. Curtis Blackwood, a Matthews Republican, wrote a statement in Allred's defense. Blackwood said he saw Allred holding the page by the shoulders before giving her a peck on the cheek.
"While some may say this showed a lack of judgment, I saw nothing that was inappropriate in Rep. Allred's actions," Blackwood wrote.