Report: Sen. Kruse has "longstanding pattern" of harassment toward women

 

An independent investigator released a report going into detail about Senator Jeff Kruse's alleged sexual harassment in the Oregon capitol.

The investigation was sparked by a formal complaint filed by Senator Sara Gelser back in November 2017. She detailed her accounts of alleged harassment and touching by Kruse spanning from 2011 to 2017.

The report was written by Dian Rubanoff, a local attorney who specializes in management labor and employment law.

In her report, Rubanoff said "there is a longstanding pattern of Senator Kruse engaging in unwelcome physical contact toward females in the workplace."

Rubanoff conducted interviews with multiple women at the State Capital, and many told her Kruse created a hostile work environment with unwanted touching, groping, and kissing.

Documents reveal Kruse was warned about his behavior in March of 2016. He was advised to avoid hugging or touching female colleagues and staff, and agreed he would stop.

However, according to the report, he didn't stop.

The investigation claims Kruse grabbed the behind of a lobbyist in 2017, that he made jokes about sexual harassment training, and even told a senator that "a lot of women cry wolf."

Other women complained of side hugs, where one woman says he would draw her in close and his fingers would slide over her ribs and the bottom of her breast.

The people making the accusations include three state senators, two law students, multiple staffers and a lobbyist. Many of the women said they felt afraid to report the touching for fear of it damaging their future careers or current position.

A male senator did acknowledge that female legislators felt uncomfortable around Kruse but says he thought it was because of the smell of cigarettes many say lingered on his clothes.

Governor Kate Brown released a statement, calling for Kruse to step down.“Senator Kruse’s behavior is not acceptable in the Capitol or any workplace, and he should step down. The legislature must immediately take steps to ensure that every person who walks into Oregon’s Capitol is safe and respected, allowing the focus in the capitol to be where it should: on serving the people of Oregon.”After the report was released, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek released a statement, also calling for Kruse to resign."The third-party investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Senator Jeff Kruse was thorough and fair. It showed a pervasive and persistent pattern of inappropriate and unacceptable behavior that is not permissible for anyone, let alone an elected official.

The people of Oregon and the women who work in the Capitol deserve better. He should resign, and if he chooses not to, the Senate should expel him.

Thank you to the brave women who came forward with their reports of harassment. I promise to do everything in my power to make sure their courage brings about real change."A public hearing will be held about the investigation on Feb. 22.

FOX 12 reached out to Sen. Kruse's office who said they do not have a comment on the investigation at this time.

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