SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican congressman John Curtis is again defending his actions as Provo mayor over the hiring and handling of harassment complaints against a former police chief.

Curtis released a second statement Wednesday responding to a lawsuit that claims he and the city failed to protect five women from alleged sexual harassment and assault by former Chief John King.

Curtis said Wednesday that he contacted independent references before King was hired, in addition to King being vetted by an outside hiring firm and hiring committee.

After King was hired, Curtis says he received one complaint that King made a worker uncomfortable and asked city officials to investigate.

He says after hearing a woman’s allegations in a second complaint that she was raped by King, he immediately called county prosecutors and city staff.

King has not responded to messages seeking comment.