LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — She's a 22-year-old female reporter working in Lansing. On Wednesday she made national headlines for standing up to a state senator. She says State Sen. Peter Lucido from Macomb County humiliated her when he made a sexual innuendo in front of a group of high school boys.
Lucido was talking to a group of students from the all boys Warren De La Salle catholic high school while a reporter waited to interview him. What he said to that reporter is now making national headlines.
"He said you should hang around. You could have a lot of fun with these boys and they could have a lot of fun with you, Allison Donahue recalled in an article she wrote following the incident.
Donahue is a reporter with the progressive website Michigan Advance. She says after Lucido's comment, boys from the high school started laughing.
"It was embarrassing," Donahue said. "I walked away and told my editor immediately."
She told her editor she wanted to give him a chance to apologize. As she finished an interview on another topic, she told him she felt offended.
"I felt the comment that you made was unprofessional in front of the group of boys saying that I would have fun with them," Donahue said in a recording. "I don’t know what you were insinuating.”
Lucido responded in the recording saying, “No. De La Salle I went there, it is an all male school. Every time you had dances we had to invite girls over for dancing. It is very awkward for a lot of these boys.”
When Donahue's editors heard the tape, they told her they felt she should write about what happened. She did, explaining she survived a sexual assault as a teen, and that she feels such innuendos in front of impressionable young men are dangerous.
"I think our society needs to realize when people hear your words, they may be hearing something other than what you are trying to say," Donahue said. "Any person with reasonable understanding would know that there was sexual connotations there."
Sen. Peter Lucido, a Republican from Macomb County, counters that he was just inviting her to hang around as he spoke to the students, and that there was a misunderstanding.
"I apologize for that," Lucido said.
De La Salle High School released a statement saying, “We are very sorry the reporter was put in this position and we have met with the boys who were on the tour to discuss the improper nature of the situation."
The Senate Business Office is calling for a review of what happened. Lucido said that's just protocol and not evidence that the allegations are legitimate.