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Top state representative grabbed incoming lawmaker’s backside, colleagues say

In an e-mailed statement, state Rep. Paul McMurtry forcefully denied the allegations, saying it was the first he had heard of them. He also indicated that he welcomed an investigation.

State Rep. Paul McMurtry. —Handout

A member of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s leadership team walked up behind an incoming legislator and grabbed her backside last month during an orientation cocktail hour for newly elected lawmakers, according to several officials who either witnessed or were told of the alleged incident.

The allegations against Representative Paul McMurtry, a Dedham Democrat and, at the time, chairman of the House personnel committee, have roiled several new members of the Legislature, who gave voice to fears that the climate of harassment House leaders vowed to address last year hasn’t abated.

When asked about the allegations against McMurtry, DeLeo’s office acknowledged that the speaker received secondhand reports from some lawmakers of “inappropriate conduct’’ from the December orientation. But those lawmakers declined to say who they heard was involved, said Catherine Williams, a DeLeo spokeswoman.