May 2, 2018
State Representative Carl Trujillo District 46
I Jerry Hatchet Lane
Santa Fe, NM 87506
firstname.lastname@example.org via Email Only
Re: Open Letter Requesting Resignation Due to Sexual Harassment
Mr. Trujillo: My name is Laura Bonar. For years, I have worked as an animal advocate for Animal Protection Voters – work that frequently took me to the State Legislature, to work to strengthen New Mexico’s animal protection laws. I love my work and am passionate for this cause, and over the years, I worked with many legislators who were dedicated public servants, who treated their position as a sacred trust. During the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, I also worked with you.
In 2013 and 2014, you sponsored bills that were important to my organization, then used your sponsorship to sexually harass me on multiple occasions. You propositioned me. You touched me inappropriately. You held your power as a state legislator over my head, making it clear to me that my passion for my cause would get me nowhere unless I demonstrated “passion” for you. You did all of this as a married man.
When I finally worked up the courage to tell you that I was not willing to succumb to your advances, you did what I feared you would do: you stormed off angrily and shut me out of the legislative process. You stalled work on animal protection legislation, and that legislation died. As an advocate, I was sickened with frustration and guilt; as a woman and a human being, I was sickened with a sense of hopelessness and injustice.
I was but one victim of your sexual quid pro quo mentality. Based on your behavior with me, I suspect (although I do not know for sure) that there may be more. For years, I was silent about the sexual harassment that you inflicted on me. I was afraid to speak up: for fear of not being believed; for fear of retaliation, whether I was believed or not; for fear of earning a reputation as a troublemaker, and being unable to do the work that I loved.
However, I have been encouraged by the Legislature’s recent passage of a formal Anti-Harassment Policy – which includes an anti-retaliation clause, in implicit recognition of the reality that all victims face – and I am convinced that the time is right to speak my mind.
I am writing this open letter to ask that you resign your position as a state representative and end your bid for reelection. I am not bringing legal action against you, although I am prepared to defend myself legally if you try to retaliate against me for exposing what you did to public scrutiny. I don’t want your money. I don’t want your apology. I simply want you to resign.
If you want to discuss any of this, you can contact my advocate, an attorney named Levi Monagle. You can reach him by phone at (505) 803 1274, or by email at email@example.com.
You tried to sexually exploit me when I needed your help. You abused your power as a legislator, and with it the trust of your constituents. The people of your district and everyone in this state deserve better. If you are serious about respecting women and allowing them to be heard, you will take this to heart.
cc. Santa Fe New Mexican
Santa Fe Reporter
NM Political Report
LA Daily Post Albuquerque Journal North Valley Daily Post
Gallup Independent Weekly Alibi
UPDATE: Since the release of the open letter, Animal Protection Voters has released the following statement:
STATEMENT FROM ANIMAL PROTECTION VOTERS
Laura Bonar is a long-term, trusted employee of Animal Protection Voters. She has told us what happened, and I and our board believe her. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to ensure a safe working environment for our staff, and to maintain the integrity of our elections endorsement process. For those reasons, Animal Protection Voters has decided not to endorse Rep. Carl Trujillo in House District 46, and believe he should resign and withdraw from the race. We will not be endorsing any other candidate in that race.
Laura Bonar has shared the following letter with us and has given us permission to publish it: http://ow.ly/Scsw30jNuKd. Further inquiries should be directed to Ms. Bonar’s advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-803-1274.
–Elisabeth Jennings, Executive Director, Animal Protection Voters