Oregon State Senator Jeff Kruse has resigned following the release of a report that backed up claims he sexually harassment women at the Capitol.
Kruse's resignation is effect March 15th.
Kruse issused the following statement:
For civil rights to be meaningful, there must be civil rights for all people, including the right to fundamental fairness for persons accused of harassment.
In recent weeks there have been allegations that I harassed female colleagues while talking to them in public areas of the Senate. I continue to deny these allegations and I regret that I will not have the opportunity to defend myself before the Senate Conduct Committee. However, today I tender my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians without distraction and my constituents may receive the fullest representation they are due.
Serving the people of Curry and portions of Coos, Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties for the past 22 years has been the greatest honor of my life. I have been proud to serve alongside my colleagues in the Oregon House and Senate, and I am very proud of my accomplishments in healthcare and education. I look forward to returning to the wonderful community that has supported me for over two decades.
Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney issued the following statement:
“Senator Kruse has made the right decision.
“The report of the independent investigator released earlier this week made it clear that his inappropriate conduct went far beyond what is alleged in the formal complaints. Just as I believed Senators Gelser and Steiner Hayward in 2016 and again last fall, I believed the report.
“This week, I have been working with leadership in the Senate Republican Caucus to secure his resignation from the Senate.
“While Senator Kruse’s resignation ends a difficult chapter for the Legislature, we cannot allow it to end this discussion. We owe it to the courageous women who came forward to seize this moment.
“The Legislative Branch is committed to providing a safe and respectful workplace that is free of harassment. Those words need to be more than just language in a policy. Each and every one of us must commit to creating a culture where harassment in any form is not tolerated. We must create a culture where victims are empowered to speak up. We must create a culture where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Oregon and her people expect no less from us. We should expect no less from each other.”
Senate Republican Leader Jackie Winters issued this statement:
"Senator Kruse has tendered his resignation today, effective March 15, 2018. I want to thank him for his 22 years of service to Oregon. He has been a true advocate for his district and rural Oregon. As we move forward, we must work to provide a safe work environment for all."