A retired Roseburg High School drama teacher has started a MoveOn.org petition asking Gov. Kate Brown and the Oregon Senate to remove Sen. Jeff Kruse from office.

Kruse was recently removed from all Senate committees by Senate President Peter Courtney over allegations he has been smoking in his office, in violation of state law, and that he has “inappropriately touched” female lawmakers, including Corvallis Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser. So far, no specifics have been forthcoming beyond that another senator said she had seen him hugging and standing too close to Gelser. Kruse also had his door removed from his office in an effort to prevent his smoking.

Eighty-three people had signed Brad Allen’s online petition as of Saturday evening. Most are Douglas County residents, though a few reside in Gelser’s district or in the Portland area.

Allen said Kruse would be fired if he was an employee in any other business.

“Why do we have lower standards for our senator than we would for somebody working at Bi-Mart, you know, somebody working at a gas station?” he said.

Allen said he wants the county to be a vibrant place where its kids want to stay after they’ve grown up. He said he might be able to give Kruse the benefit of the doubt if he were getting that job done, but he doesn’t think that’s happening. He thinks businesses would not want to locate here after learning about our senator being removed from committees, having his door removed and “hitting on” women.

He also said he doesn’t believe any woman would accuse anyone of sexual harassment unless it were true, because she knows that many people won’t believe her.

“I’ve decided I’m going to believe all accusers from here on out,” he said.

Kruse said the petition doesn’t make sense, since only the voters, not the governor or the Senate president could remove him from office.

Allen said he doesn’t think a recall petition would work, because not enough county residents would vote to oust Kruse. But he hopes the MoveOn.org petition will encourage Kruse to retire from the Senate.

“Let’s send Uncle Jeffey back to a place where he can squeeze any fruit he wants, and smoke whenever he feels like it,” he said.

Kruse said it’s part of a witch hunt intended to force him to resign, but he won’t.

“From my perspective, resigning is admitting guilt, and I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Kruse has said he’s never done anything more than give a side hug to Gelser, and that he’s never touched her in a sexual way. And he said he still doesn’t know what the specific allegations are.

“It’s just inappropriate touching, whatever the hell that is, and that varies person to person. One of the biggest huggers in the entire state capitol is the governor. She’s a hugger, always has been,” he said.

Kruse feels his constituents are behind him.

“Basically, what I’m hearing from the community is support for me. Yesterday, I went shopping at Sherm’s and had three people stop me and tell me they’re 100 percent behind me,” he said.

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 541-957-4213 or by email at ccegavske@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

(26) comments

Flyonthewall

I would agree that the smoking issue needs some action. An employer would surely terminate an employee that would not adhere to the rules. The sexual part of the issue has gotten the cart way before the horse. I understand and am appalled by the sexual misconduct and harassment in the world today. I want to protect all women from this type of behavior. The problems with this issue is:
1. The types of touching that senator Kruse was warned about have not been determined as sexual. Just unwanted.
2. The way the allegations started trough twitter send a very strong message that they are fabricated and politically motivated. Wouldn't a victim that would post on twitter be able to call law enforcement? Posting on twitter has the same tone as writing it on a bathroom wall.
3. Even though I appreciate your intent to keep women safe and your determination, I cannot agree with your attitude to believe all accusers. That kind of logic would open up the door for all kinds of motives other than to stop sexual abuse, and this case seems to have some of that tone. Furthermore I would not waste my time signing a petition that could never be enforced.
In politics today there is so much corruption and political lies that there needs to be some direct evidence of a crime before action is taken. Senator Kruse should certainly make it a point to keep his hands to himself but I have seen nothing about his behavior that has been deemed sexual.
Show me proof before taking action.

Mogie

Predators are very cunning. They don't do these deeds in the light of day so to speak. They do it in the shadows where there is usually no evidence. Just like many drug addicts that can appear fine but are really high. They know this behavior is wrong and are sneaky. They tend to leave little or no evidence and same when it comes to witnesses. Just because you don't believe something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Handy Barker

I'm struck by how Senator Kruse's responses give away a great deal more than he probably knew or should have: he remarked that he didn't want to quit because that would be an admission of guilt. Isn't the public sanction "The women of the Capitol don't want you to touch them" the penalty for a guilty man? So, is Mr. Kruse not concerned about committing "harassment" by state statutes of "unwanted or offense touch" but only concerned about having to admit to it? He's doing moral rope tricks, spinning loopholes for himself to exploit, or, as he told me in his offices last February: "You can't stop Bad People
from doing Bad Things". Like smoking? Like unwanted touch? No, Mr. Kruse. We can. And just like Frodo took a long slog to throw that ring in Mt. Doom, we will see justice brought to rectify these misdeeds.

Handy Barker

Thank you for the reasonable and systematic response, FOTW! We agree that he should be punished and the Senate President is correct to punish him for his breaking the law for repeatedly trampling on state smoking laws, though you and I and the rest of District 1 suffer because of his actions: what responsible Senator or exciting new business would trust a punished lawmaker who had to have his door removed like an eighth grader? No one.

1. The rules of touch aren't unclear in the Oregon statutes which I list for you here. I did a great deal of research before putting up a petition. "Harassment" is "subjecting another person to offensive physical touch", so it's not for you nor I to say what's offensive. And it's certainly not for the offender with two accusations of harassment on him. If the two accusers on record with the Senate President accuse our punished senator, he's in violation because he offended them with his touch. I will give you that it may not have qualified as "sexual", though if you were issued a letter from the Senate President threatening you with "No women in the capitol want you to touch them.", what are we to make of that but sexual harassment? He's touching women who are offended by it and want it to stop. He's lost his committee appointments over it. He's on an island reserved only for offenders who smoke and flout the state no-smoking laws and grope and flout groping laws. If that victim were your granddaughter--God forbid--would you continue to grill her on how she should call police and not cry, or just relax and enjoy the offensive touch of a 66 year old man? Your defense of him crumbles to wet tissue. You may not like having the accusations of women in our world stand as "direct evidence"--Cosby, Weinstein, Clinton, and Trump don't--but the courts admit it and that's the law. Here are the harassment statutes for your review:

Oregon statutes: https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/166.065

3. I realize my BELIEVE ALL ACCUSERS dictum comes across as revolutionary, but I assure you, I came by it through solid reasoning. I have a degree in Logic and Rhetoric from the preeminent Rhetorician in America, Dr. Dominic Larusso, so I can lay out the syllogisms if you like to conclude that Senator Kruse is logically. But logic isn't the tool here: the lesson is from Sun Tzu in "The Art of War":
"Know your enemy". It's a thought experiment: think back if you would to a person who harassed you--touched you in an unwanted way. Play honestly. Now, imagine you were to decide to accuse this person publicly--as you say, merely as a political weapon or to damage someone's career. Would you choose to falsify that accusation against this person wrongfully, knowing full well that the public would accuse you of being a floozy, shaming you, considering your dating experiences and sexual history, calling your 3 am Tweets merely political posturing, and denounce you as a goldigger? Would you falsely accuse someone, Flyonthewall? I don't think so, and if you've put yourself in the role of the one in four women in America TODAY who are experiencing those creepy unwanted touches, why would they make them up? You're speaking from my mother's generation--1957--not for 2017, when we want your daughters and granddaughters to speak up and accuse.

I will fail, as you say. I know that. But one of us is working so that your granddaughters don' t KNOW the word "harassment" in the workplace. Isn't that the sorta thing you'd also like to be working toward?

. I can agree with you that Twitter, which I bet between the two of us, neither of us have Tweeted 25 "tweets" in our careers, is not at all the appropriate method of announcing a sexual assault by Mr. Kruse. Twitter is not a valid form for such serious matters at all, though in only the last six months, our president has threatened war with Iran and North Korea, called for the Death Penalty and Guantanamo--before sentencing--and called pretty much everybody who opposes him foul names. So, to find common ground, I'll give you that: let's ignore both her accusations on Twitter--which were only the beginning of the Senate condemnation--and Mr. Trump's. We agree! Both are wrong!

Lastly, you need to realize that I do hold a degree in Logic and Rhetoric from the University of Oregon, and

Mogie

Have you ever been sexually harassed? The guilt and shame are overwhelming to the point of making you almost unable to function normally. It makes you almost fear interacting with other people on a daily basis. The idea that the people put someone like that in office is nearly sickening. Politicians make the rules but don't have to follow them? What kind of example is this for our young people? Tell you daughters to get used to being treated like a whoree because we don't want to upset the apple cart.

Mogie

If you had a job where you broke the law (repeatedly) by smoking in your office most people would be fired for not following the law. If you were given repeated warnings at work for inappropriate touching of other people you would be removed from that job. Politicians should be an example of good behavior and rule following not an exception. What kind of example is this for children? Do as I say not as I do?

Handy Barker

Thanks for your response, Mogie, and I hope you have not been mistreated in work. Would you agree, as I've found, that if you have been mistreated, you would be very very unlikely to accuse your abuser wrongfully because of the shame and repercussions? That's why I've decided to BELIEVE ALL ACCUSERS. I'd like to end all harassment so that your daughters and granddaughters don't even know the word. And that's why I'm putting forward this petition. Sexual predators might like living in a moral ball-pit where they can claim all touches are innocent and prey on victims in that cloudy grey area, but if we believe every accuser, he's got nowhere to hide and predators will stop or be fired. And that's good for everyone. Except Sexual Predators.

Mogie

We teach our children to always tell the truth and you won't get in trouble. If your daughter came home from work and told you someone had done something sexual to her would you ask her for proof or would you try to comfort her? Most people would listen and try to fix the situation so is didn't happen again. Do you realize what kind of damage this can do to someone's mind? Do we want our children growing up thinking that when someone in authority wants sex all they have to do it take it? Sexual abuse it a big reason why so many women end up in prostitution. Again what would you do if your daughter came home crying over some old pervert trying to feel them up?

Photogirl4u

He also said he doesn’t believe any woman would accuse anyone of sexual harassment unless it were true, because she knows that many people won’t believe her.

“I’ve decided I’m going to believe all accusers from here on out,” he said.

Seems as though there has been a lot of innocent men unjustly accused that have paid for crimes that dishonest women have testified to. I think that the petitioner is too broad in this statement.

Handy Barker

I can assure you I did a tremendous amount of statistical research before mounting this petition, so I'd have facts. Did you know that 14% of harassment victims actually come forward? That's because of the flawed remark you made, which is dead out of Mad Men: blame the accuser, attack her, blame her clothes, fire her from her job. Is that the world you want to hand off to your granddaughters? Try this exercise: think of a person who actually harassed you. Now, imagine the fear and shame and embarrassment and repercussions you'd face by accusing that creep publicly. WOULD YOU EVER ACCUSE WRONGFULLY? Of course not. And in that vague moral cloud of fear, predators have survived forever, victimizing women and getting away with it. I'm ready for a world where your granddaughters never see that. Arent' you?

OregonHusker

I suggest you read about the Duke Lacrosse team. That woman lied about being raped. Also read up about the University of Virginia and Rolling Stone magazine. False accusations happen all of the time. I'm not saying it happened here, but to believe somebody because they say so is naive.

Handy Barker

You've given me two examples, which I accept. And that's the common defense: but a defense of what? Are you saying that in your workplace, or that of your daughters and granddaughters, you will ignore any accusations of harassment because of those two cases? Of course not. Federal stats show that, at most 2% of accusations by victimized women turn out to be false: you found two of them: are you arguing that we ignore the Senate President's letter to Mr. Kruse that no women in the senate want him to touch them because of your two cases? If we trust that 98% of all accusations are true--which is what federal statistics show, we're closing that moral loophole that allows predators to invade our girls' and womens' safety. That's simply working to keep your daughters and granddaughters safe. Why would you work against keeping the women in
your own family safe? We're All In This Together. But how long would you keep an employee who breaks your workplace guidelines so you have to remove his door to keep him from smoking? Here are some stats that might balance your two cherry-picked ones: https://endsexualviolencect.org/resources/get-the-facts/national-statistics-on-sexual-violence/

Photogirl4u

Right on Oregon Husker

Mogie

But to automatically discount what they say is cruel. Unless this has happened to you most likely you have no idea how dirty and ashamed you can feel afterwards. Any type of abuse can leave horrible mental scars. Those scars can form how you feel about yourself and sex for the rest of your life. You are more then someone else's sex toy. And those types of predators should be locked away especially from the public.

bohica48

"Photogirl4u!" That sounds sexually provocative. I'm offended, and I think I'll
file a sexual harassment suit against YOU.

Photogirl4u

bohica,?? What part of my comment is provacative? I must be missing your point.

bohica48

Doesn't matter what YOU think. The law states it's how I perceive it. THAT'S my point. See how easy it is to be accused of something, and not even know why.

InDWoods

So he goes to a left-wing Democrat website to start a petition that is supposed to represent the will of an overwhelmingly Republican website like Douglas County? Then it turns out that the Governor and Senate cannot remove him anyway. It is no wonder that this teacher taught drama instead of something that involves logic.

Handy Barker

I can't disagree with you, IDWoods, though those sets for over 50 productions didn't get built by whimsy. And I'm a moderate Independent American with some very conservative tendencies, not a liberal or a Democrat. And I'm proud to be from DC for decades. But how long would you keep an employee in your business who had to be repeatedly told not to touch women or smoke in violation of your workplace guidelines. Most businesses in our county would remove an employee after one. Wouldn't you do that so as to keep our women and daughters safe? He has two accusations, has had his door and committee assignments removed. That's neither conservative or liberal, but it affects his ability to represent you and I. Pretend you're a new Cross Laminate Timber company from out of state looking for a place to put your new 500--employee plant. Would you trust a senator who had to have his door removed and told never to touch women in the senate again? No one would. That's neither GOP nor Dem, but it does hurt Douglas County. So now you know.

just me

guilty even if proven innocent

InDWoods

You gotta love this guys attitude: “I’ve decided I’m going to believe all accusers from here on out!”. No proof, evidence, or anything else needed I guess. Want to get somebody fired or end their career? Just find a woman to accuse him of sexual harassment.

Handy Barker

InDWoods, why you've chosen to demonstrate that you yourself would be a false accuser reveals more about you than anything else. We all choose who to believe. In my six decades of life, we've always ignored female accusers. And that's what's keptl harassment alive forever and kept creeps like Weinstein, Clinton, Spacey, and Cosby alive as predators. It's a moral loophole. But federal stats show that only 2% of accusations--like in Duke Lacrosse and U Virginia--are borne out as false accusations. The other 98% are valid. So why would you be arguing to keep your granddaughters unsafe in the horrible event of them being endangered? I realize my policy to BELIEVE ALL ACCUSERS sounds crazy at first, but ask yourself if you, yourself would falsify an accusation in public against your boss or an important official if you knew that folks would shame you, look at your clothing, your dating habits, and humiliate you. Would you lie publically about your boss just to get ahead? Almost no one would make up an accusation. That's the logical proof based on experience. Except for the few who, like you above, might consider lying just to get ahead. For the statistical proof, here you go. I assure you, I did extensive research before releasing this crucial petition. Because I want you granddaughters to not know the word "harasment". Don't you? Here's the most current and simplest breakdown of sexual harassment in America. But I have plenty of others depending on how much more of my research you need to see: https://endsexualviolencect.org/resources/get-the-facts/national-statistics-on-sexual-violence/

InDWoods

If you are going to trot out statistics, please provide a reference. I don't believe those stats for one second.

Handy Barker

[pirate] I found the petition here!

https://petitions.moveon.org/sign/remove-senator-jeff-kruse?source=c.em&r_by=17143177

Countrygirl

If you don't like someone or don't like their opinions or maybe they are just a little too effective in the Senate, Accuse him of sexual touching or harassment, that will get rid of him. That seems to the the plan of action these days. Maybe Gelser has an overactive imagination. Maybe everything looks like a "come-on" to her. Maybe this is how she boosts her own ego. What is this world coming to. So Sad.

bbgurrl

"My fellow bigoted, sexist, misogynist victim blamers support me"

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