State Senator Sexual Misconduct

FILE--In this July 8, 2005, file photo, Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, makes remarks before a vote at the state Capitol, in Salem, Ore. Kruse subjected two female senators to unwanted touching and groped or gave lingering hugs to many other women working at the Capitol, according to a report released by an independent investigator. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, file)

Rick Bowmer

Some Douglas County leaders said Thursday that Sen. Jeff Kruse’s resignation is in the best interest of the district and the county.

Kruse announced Thursday that he’s stepping down from the Oregon Senate at the end of the current session in March. The announcement came after an independent investigation found Kruse had inappropriately touched female legislators, legislative staff and law students. After allegations of the harassment surfaced earlier this session, Kruse had all his committee assignments taken away.

Fred Dayton, chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party, said, unfortunately, Kruse was no longer effective in his elected office, so he understands why the senator resigned.

“He’s still supported by the citizens of Douglas County, and we don’t understand everything that happened up there, but when he lost his appointment to the various committees he was no longer able to fully represent his constituents so I’m not surprised this happened,” Dayton said.

Alana Lenihan, chairwoman of the Douglas County Democratic Party, said she applauds Kruse’s courage in resigning. She thinks it’s best for the county and the district.

“In the situation he was in, where he’s not allowed on the grounds and possibly being censored, not being in committee, he was not able to do anything legislative-wise for our county so this in the best interest of the district,” Lenihan said. “I hope this will create a change and make it obvious this type of behavior is not tolerated.”

Both Dayton and Lenihan declined to say who they would prefer to see as the new senator to replace Kruse.

Douglas County Commissioner Tim Freeman said he hadn’t read the investigative report released Tuesday and he doesn’t know whether Kruse did the things of which he’s accused.

He did say as a husband and as the father of a daughter, “I’ve got no use for people who harass or sexually harass others, I just don’t.”

When Freeman served in the Legislature with Kruse, he found Kruse to be very engaged, one of the first people to show up at the Capitol each day and a man who spent long hours working on policy, especially on education and health care.

“He was just one of those guys that spent a lot of time working on behalf of the citizens of his district,” he said.

State Rep. Cedric Hayden, a Republican who called for Kruse’s resignation earlier this week, said he believes Kruse made the “responsible choice.”

“Now representation restoration to rural Oregon will move forward without a lengthy process for those involved in this difficult situation,” Hayden said.

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or ehoard@nrtoday.com. Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(2) comments

Momos

“He’s still supported by the citizens of Douglas County, and we don’t understand everything that happened up there"

Fred Dayton is as clueless as Kruse. What's the average age of his "supporters", 80? Male? Illiterate? Still thinking it's 1962?

Dayton knows full well what's really going on. Kruse is creeping on women, and it's well documented. Fred Dayton and Douglas County Republicans are still confused about the facts? THAT position is as disgusting as Kruse's behavior.

Old Tobi

Maybe it's his age. Maybe he's one of a generation of men who grew up feeling entitled to paw women. Younger women, women who grew up believing they were actual people and not objects to be pawed, will have none of it. Good for them. But I've only been in Douglas County ten months and I've experienced all sorts of behaviors coming from handsy old horndogs that wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else. Surely we can find at least one person with good manners to represent Douglas County to the State, and who can work alongside both men and women without oozing slime.

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