Oregon state senator admonished for allegedly touching women, sm - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon state senator admonished for allegedly touching women, smoking in office

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Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse, Republican from Roseburg (Photo: Oregonlegislature.gov) Oregon State Sen. Jeff Kruse, Republican from Roseburg (Photo: Oregonlegislature.gov)

Jeff Kruse, an Oregon state senator, was admonished in a letter from Senate President Peter Courtney over allegedly touching women and smoking in his office. 

The letter was sent to the Roseburg Republican on Friday. FOX 12 received a copy of the letter Tuesday.

The letter states Kruse had been instructed in March 2016 by an employee services manager and a legislative counselor not to touch women at work.

“This week I was made aware that your behavior toward women in the workplace has also gone unchanged. Two new incidents were brought to my attention,” according to Courtney’s letter.

Courtney wrote that continuing to touch women at work is inappropriate workplace conduct, “of which you have already been warned.”

“Women in the Capitol do NOT want you to touch them,” Courtney’s letter to Kruse states.  

Sen. Sara Gelser confirmed to FOX 12 that she was one of the women who initiated the complaints referenced in Courtney's letter over "inappropriate touching."

"I have been grateful to the professional response my complaints have received from Democratic, Republican and nonpartisan legislative leadership," Gelser wrote in an email to FOX 12.

Courtney also said Kruse has “repeatedly broken the law by smoking in your office or the Capitol garage.”

Courtney wrote that Kruse had been fined twice by the Oregon Health Authority over the smoking issue.

Courtney wrote Kruse continuing to smoke in prohibited areas, “demonstrates your disrespect for the laws of the state and the Capitol as your workplace. Your behavior exposes the branch to liability and the institution of the Senate to public scorn and charges of hypocrisy.”

Kruse was removed by Courtney from committee assignments and the door to his office is slated to be removed on Oct.  27.

Courtney called the measures an “unprecedented step” and actions he has never taken before as senate president.

Sen. Ted Ferrioli’s office reported there is an ongoing investigation into allegations against Kruse, but no formal complaint has been filed.

FOX 12 reached out to Kruse regarding the allegations, but did not hear back from him. 

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