Jeff Kruse

Kruse

Kruse responds to allegations

{child_byline}CARISA CEGAVSKE

Senior Staff Writer

The News-Review

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State Sen. Jeff Kruse said he expects he’ll be back on his Senate committees in two weeks to a month, once everybody’s “jumped through the appropriate hoops.”

“This will all, I’m sure, be totally resolved well before the February session,” he said.

Kruse made headlines around the country this weekend after The Oregonian reported he’d been kicked off all committees soon after a fellow senator suggested on Twitter that someone in the legislature had inappropriately touched her.

Kruse said the first time he heard he was in trouble was in a phone call Friday from Senate President Peter Courtney. Kruse said Courtney was with his chief of staff, people from human resources, and people from the legislative counsel during the call, and that Courtney told him he was under investigation and would be receiving a letter.

Courtney mentioned two allegations against Kruse, one for smoking in the office and one for “inappropriate behavior,” Kruse said.

He said Courtney didn’t define the behavior, and didn’t answer his questions about it. However, Kruse inferred that because of the timing it was likely related to recent tweets from Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis. Gelser made reference to sexual harassment in the legislature, and to inappropriate touching, but didn’t name any names.

Kruse said he’s never inappropriately touched Gelser, and his only interactions with her have been on the Senate floor. The smoking allegation he freely admits.

“I’m fine because in my mind, outside of the smoking, I haven’t done anything wrong. So I’ve got to believe that the truth will win out at some point,” he said.

He said he has no intention of stepping down over the allegations.

“I’ve got too much work to do. I’ve had Democrat colleagues contact me and say we need to get this figured out, you’re too important to the process, as well as Republican colleagues. We’ve got some big issues to deal with, and the chairs of the committees I sit on are counting on me being there,” he said.

Kruse has served in the state legislature more than 20 years. He was first elected to the Oregon House in 1996, and advanced to the Senate in 2004.

Republicans began speculating online after the news came out that this could be a political attack. Kruse said since he’s in mid-term, with his seat not coming up for reelection until 2020, an attack wouldn’t necessarily be designed to take him out. He did speculate that Gelser’s online comments could be related to a tough race he said she will face in November 2018.

“This may be an attempt by her to solidify some things and paint Republicans as evil. I can’t think of any other reason for her to make these allegations in the way she did,” he said.

In addition to losing his seat on Senate committees, Kruse will be losing the door to his office, apparently as a punishment for smoking.

“It’s beyond weird. I’m not sure (Courtney) has the authority to do that, but that’s what he’s going to do,” he said.

Rep. Dallas Heard, R-Winston, said he hasn’t heard any complaints about Kruse from women in the legislature.

“I’m never tolerant of women being treated poorly in any regard, in any place, work or otherwise, and Jeff isn’t either,” he said.

Heard criticized Courtney for pulling Kruse off committees with what he sees as a lack of due process. And he said it’s the voters in Southern Oregon who are getting hurt.

“Why don’t Portland Democrats treat us as Southern Oregonians, rural Oregonians, with a little more respect in how they go about dealing out punishment?” he asked.

Gelser tweeted several times over the past week on the subject of sexual harassment, after Oregon Senate Republican spokesman Jonathan Lockwood accused her of taking campaign donations from Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, a Hollywood producer under fire for multiple sexual misconduct claims, had donated to Oregon Democrats, but it was about a decade before Gelser was elected.

Gelser re-tweeted a Los Angeles Times story this week on sexual harassment and misconduct in the California legislature, saying “Oregon too.” She also tweeted several times about harassment, including that legislators, staffers and lobbyists should report incidents, and that she was speaking from personal experience. Friday, she tweeted that she was “not naming names, but naming the reality.”

“The person has been called out under the Senate Rule,” she tweeted. “The point is Cap(itol) culture allows this. It must change, not just for me but for all.”

After Kruse’s name had been linked with her tweets, she still wasn’t naming names. Nor did she say anything to suggest Kruse wasn’t involved.

“For public discourse, it’s the behavior not the name that matters,” she tweeted Saturday.

Gelser did not respond to requests for comment Saturday. Neither did Courtney.

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Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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Senior Reporter

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

(14) comments

NJ

To answer exdep425; if she now seems evasive I'd suggest she spoke with a lawyer and is now being told to not speak publicly about her allegation.

To melrosereader: You're asking in order to get an answer we already know. Yes, Trump, his family, and all his associates both inside and outside of government are complicit in two things, 1, the hostile corporate takeover of our Constitution of Law and our Democratic Government, and 2, generally acting as a great distraction for our Republican Congress to work towards its agenda steeped in the myth of white supremacy, legislating their dogma, and punishing anyone who does not look like them.

To larry: Gee, if it were ever only a friendly hello rather than the more often off-color joke or innuendo. It's with extreme hope that men of the "Greatest Generation" and their offspring of "Boomers" will finally embrace equality and understand that "boys just being boys" is actually systemic oppression of women. We're here, We're half the population, Get used to us.

bbgurrl

#ibelieveher

exdep425

***NJ. Problem is, she made her innuendos, then accusations and then clams up. That gave her some public face time and makes most every body treat Kruse as a criminal and pervert. She was wrong to go public that way, but that is a dirty Lib/Dem trick.

NJ

exdep425: Well she's not being quiet any longer. She must have consulted with a lawyer. You sound as if you know the woman and her political affiliation. It's easy to jump to conclusions. Or perhaps it's just that now you understand mine and can't resist baiting me with your "dirty Lib/Dem trick" statement. I understand. Sometimes it's difficult to accept that not everyone shares your ideology.

Mogie

I don't care what political party your belong to wrong is wrong. Maybe she made this up and then again maybe she it telling the truth. Sounds like Kruse has a slight history of not following the law (otherwise why would they remove the door to his office). Of the over 30 women who have accused Harvey Weinstein how many filed police reports? Just because a police report wasn't filed doesn't mean this women is a liar. Some women is her position feel guilt and shame. That alone is reason enough for many not to file a report. If you haven't been sexually abused you might not understand those feelings and reactions.

exdep425

***Looked up Gelser's twitter posts regarding the alleged inappropriate touching. She is very evasive and generalizing in her responses, which are signs of someone avoiding a truthful answer. If she is willing to start talking publicly about something, then why does she suddenly stop and refuse to answer further? Being evasive, is hiding facts. Hiding facts are signs of untruthfulness.

melrosereader

Not to change the subject (but to change the subject) if being evasive is hiding facts and hiding facts are signs of untruthfulness, what does that say about AG Sessions, EPA Director Pruitt and the rest of tRump's swamp creatures?

exdep425

***melrose. Why did you have to go off on a tangent and try to bring up things not related to this article? Oh yea, you have to be a Lib/Dem with those kinds of words. What you did, was a standard Lib/Dem technique of avoiding the direct facts, or potential facts and trying to rub dirt on something not relevant. Good try, but FAIL. Hope you are not a teacher, of any kind, with those slanted views.

Mogie

Not coming forward is also a sign of shame, guilt and self-doubt. Victims of sexual abuse understand those emotions. I would think that even a former cop would know that.

Momos

...once everybody’s “jumped through the appropriate hoops.”

It may be a little more complicated than that, Jeff. This isn't the 60's.

Larry

Inappropriate behavior is a catchall. It is a great way to attract attention to someone you hate, revenge is sweet. It's amusing that you take the moral high ground when a large number of your clients are guilty of this. An off color joke, innuendo, or just saying hello with misconception of intent can be construed as inappropriate behavior. Have you ever hugged an employee or a customer? Smoking in building ? Misdemeanor is on the books. Misuse of funds ? Who, where, what when. Exactly what does that have to do with the story anyway. Perhaps you should go smoke a bowl. Maybe go to the park where your clients illegally smoke.

CannaKing

"It's amusing that you take the moral high ground when a large number of your clients are guilty of this."

Easy there Larry, Dont kill the messenger. I think it is disingenuous to compare what an elected official gets caught doing as opposed to what a common civilian gets caught doing, besides, I dont know 1 idiot (until now) that WOULD smoke inside a county or state ran building. Dont you find it ODD that these "leaders" write laws for you and I, but wont follow those same laws themselves? I am QUITE SURE if any of my "clients" went and smoked a bowl inside the state capitol, that they WOULD be arrested and cited!

"revenge is sweet." I have no grievance with Jeff.

"Misuse of funds ? Who, where, what when." Tim(ber) freeman was just caught. Keep up will ya? Here is the link in case you might have forgot this story that was published just a couple weeks back.
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2017/09/county_safety_net_money_paid_f.html

"Perhaps you should go smoke a bowl." Sounds like a heck of an idea.... after all, it is legal now to do so.... BUT EVEN A STUPID STONER realizes it is NOT legal to do so in a county or state building. smh.....

Keep on running smokescreen Larry.... for your overlords I am sure will appreciate your Diverting /denying of facts /deflection. Keep on shillin' like a villian!

CannaKing

WTF is wrong/going on in Douglas County politics??? We need to throw em all out AND bring back term limits... Most these people think they are ABOVE the law (like smoking inside the state capital OR using funds meant to educate our local youth for their own personal piggybank), while telling us little people TO OBEY the rules/laws they created or ELSE face a fine/jail! smh.... Time to drain our local CESSPOOL / SWAMP!

Mogie

I was just thinking the same about DC politics. We had a former mayor of Winston who was a child perv, a sheriff employee who posed nude for photos and now a politician who keeps man handling women. Bet ya Kruse would cry like a baby if a women he groped responded with a swift kick to the gonads. We sure seem to have a lot of weirdos in our area.

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