No hearing on Kruse misconduct allegations
SALEM - The Senate Conduct Committee has canceled a Feb. 22 hearing on accusations and sanctions against Sen. Jeff Kruse related to persistent unwanted touching of women at the Oregon Capitol.
The Roseburg Republican's resignation became irrevocable Wednesday, three business days after he tendered it, per Senate rules. His resignation is effective March 15, but he has agreed to stay away from the Capitol building until that time, according to the Senate Republicans Office.
That means the hearing on the accusations and requests from two female senators to expel Kruse is no longer necessary.
"I can see no benefit from going through with the hearing since any possible recommendations along our timelines would occur after March 15, 2018," Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, chairman of the conduct committee, wrote in a letter Feb. 14 to other committee members.
An independent investigation - prompted by formal complaints by Sens. Sara Gelser and Elizabeth Steiner Hayward - found
Kruse continued to touch women even after repeated requests by colleagues, human resources and legislative counsel to stop his behavior. In some instances, he even escalated his advances on women. In one instance last year - after the warnings, he went up behind a female lobbyist and cupped her buttocks, according to the investigation.
Legislative leaders said they are considering reforms to their policies on sexual harassment, including establishing an anonymous tipline for people who may worry reporting such behavior could jeopardize their jobs or effectiveness at the Legislature.