Former Republican Sen. John McGee could spend up to 88 days in jail for pleading guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace for behavior prosecutors say was "sexually provocative" to a female staffer.
McGee will also have to spend two years on supervised probation, pay $500 in court costs and fees and must continue to get counseling. McGee must serve 44 days in jail before he can ask for work release or to work on the sheriffs inmate work detail.
McGee also admitted Tuesday to violating probation for a previous DUI conviction last winter in connection with the same case the result of a sexual harassment complaint that cost McGee his Senate seat and his role in legislative leadership.
McGee will also have to pay $960 in restitution to the victims compensation fund in the harassment case and attend classes about having healthy relationships and setting appropriate boundaries.
Fourth District Magistrate James Cawthon also revoked a withheld judgement for McGees 2011 DUI conviction.
When asked by Cawthon why he was pleading guilty to disturbing the peace, McGee replied Your honor, on Feb. 7, I acted inappropriately. I used language I should not have used. I conducted myself in a way that was offensive and I am guilty of this.
A few minutes later, McGee told Cawthon that serving in the Idaho Senate was a great privilege, and that over the last year, I did not live up to that privilege. Im sorry for that." McGee also told Cawthon he accepted responsibility for his actions, but did not elaborate.
McGee's attorney Scott McKay and prosecutors negotiated a deal where McGee would have spent five days in jail, but Cawthon exceeded that agreement, telling McGee that he was taking into account his position as a public servant and the fact that he was already on probation for the DUI.
"It's not a question of treating you differently. It's a question of treating you like any other public servant that misbehaves to the level of committing criminal behavior," Cawthon said.
McGee did not direct an apology to the female staffer, who did not attend Tuesdays sentencing hearing. McKay also said McGee denied some of the claims made by prosecutors, but did not say what they were.
The former lawmaker told Senate leaders he had a "problem" when they confronted him in February about a report that he'd sexually harassed a Senate aide, according to court records.
The 39-year-old McGee was a four-term senator from Caldwell and, until his resignation, the No. 4 Republican in the Senate.
Prior to Tuesdays hearing, McGee, dressed in a dark suit, held hands with his wife and sat quietly in the courtroom with his parents and pastor.
McKay asked Cawthon if McGee could have seven days to get his affairs in order before having to go to jail. Cawthon said no, so McGee was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. McGee maintained a stoic composure during the hearing but his wife was crying as she left the courtroom.
Prosecutors say the incident occurred in McGee's legislative office on Feb. 7.
McGee's office was adjacent to the Senate Majority Caucus meeting room, where McGee survived a Jan. 12 closed-door attempt to remove him from his leadership post after a DUI arrest in July.
The office is on the fourth floor, on the southwest corner of the Capitol. Since the building's remodel, the space receives far less foot traffic than when committee hearings were conducted nearby.
According to the arrest warrant, McGee "willfully and maliciously disturbed the peace or quiet of a person, by offensive conduct." Prosecutors say that McGee "used profane and offensive language and/or offensive conduct in the presence of" a state employee.
Ada County prosecutors said in June that McGee became "sexually provocative" toward the female employee, but did not elaborate in court.
At first, the employee told her mother what had happened, but no one else. Around that same time, co-workers noticed that the employee appeared "unhappy, tearful, and crying often" and asked her what was wrong, Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Jean Fisher said. That eventually led to an Idaho State Police investigation, according to court records.
Senate officials said in February that another legislative employee brought the woman's account to Senate leaders. They confronted McGee, who resigned Feb. 22, just before the news of the investigation broke.
Fisher said in June that Senate leaders who talked to McGee told ISP investigators that McGee "said he knew he had a problem."
The disturbing-the-peace case has been combined with the probation-violation case, which stems from McGee's DUI last year.
McGee pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI following an incident in which he got into someone else's SUV and crashed it.
McGee was placed on one year of unsupervised probation, which was set to end July 1. The terms of that probation ordered McGee not to commit any other crimes.