Peter Courtney

Senate President Peter Courtney

After learning it was Senate President Peter Courtney’s chief of staff who told police about a YouTube video in which Sen. Jeff Kruse appears to be masturbating, The News-Review reached out to Courtney’s office for an explanation via phone and email, and received a one sentence emailed response. The questions remained mostly unanswered.

Courtney had recently removed Kruse from all committees over allegations Kruse inappropriately touched women at the capitol, and that he was smoking in his office.

The move was widely viewed, even by Courtney, as unprecedented.

Then the video was leaked to media outlets, including The News-Review, last week. On Thursday of this week, The News-Review obtained a copy of the Oregon State Police report in the case.

One detail that stood out in the report was who initially contacted police — Courtney’s chief of staff, Betsy Imholt.

The News-Review reached out to Courtney’s office with a telephone call and four emailed questions, but received nothing more than a one sentence response via email.

The questions we asked were these: Did anyone from Courtney’s office contact Kruse before going to the police? What did they think about the impact on Southern Oregon voters represented by Kruse? Did they believe Kruse should resign his office? And was this a political take-down of Kruse, orchestrated by Courtney’s office?

The response, from Courtney’s communications director Robin Maxey, didn’t directly answer any of the questions.

“When Senator Courtney heard about the video in October, it was referred to law enforcement for investigation under mandatory reporter laws,” Maxey wrote.

This may be a reference to words in the caption underneath the video, which mention 9-year-old girls. Police found no evidence that any children were involved. An adult, blonde woman appeared in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, suggesting this was the person Kruse was interacting with when the video was taken.

In an earlier interview, Kruse told The News-Review he first became aware of the video when police contacted him, and that he had only been talking with a dark-haired woman he thought was from Texas. According to the police report, Kruse told police he was investigating possible video scam operations, and that he was pretending to masturbate in the video.

Police had investigated to see whether Kruse was the victim of the crime of Unlawful Dissemination of an Intimate Image. They closed the case after interviewing him.

Kruse did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at 541-957-4213 or

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Senior Reporter

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

(4) comments


I'm appalled that Senate President Peter Courtney’s chief of staff had to make the phone call to the State Police instead of Senator Courtney. Doesn't the Senator have the BALLS to face Mr. Kruse?? What a coward. From what I've read, Mr. Kruse is just another HORNEY man that can't keep it in his pants. It doesn't matter if you believe the video (I've watched it!) and I believe he was preforming for the future Internet viewers. It's just to bad his come didn't cover the camera. How stupid! He should be arrested for indecency in the act was not done in his home as suggested; but, in a public space (the Internet). This should be treated like child pornography and prosecuted as such. It's not like Mr. Kruse is a horny teenager - he's a senior citizen and shouldn't be proud to get it up. Shame, shame, shame.


If Senator Kruse is found guilty of these deviant acts, he should voluntarily resign and apologize to the voters of Douglas County for wasting goodwill and faith while we expected professional conduct. National affliction?

Old Tobi

None of those questions deserve an answer except perhaps whether Courtney called Kruse into his office to tell him he was bringing in law enforcement. It's obvious Kruse behaves badly and I suspect Courtney's sick of it. I certainly am.


"The response, from Courtney's communications director Robin Maxey, didn't directly answer any of the questions." Politicians normally don't answer questions they deflect back to a topic they want to address.

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