It’s clear that Sen. Jeff Kruse took his shirt off and smoked a cigarette during an online chat, while unaware he was being recorded.
But the person who posted the video on YouTube about a year ago implied it was more than that.
Kruse told The News-Review he was unaware of the video, which was posted in 2016, until state police contacted him about two weeks ago. He said he was told by police he might be a victim if sexual activity was happening during the recording. A caption underneath alleged he was masturbating.
According to Kruse, that wasn’t happening. The video is blurry and shows nothing below Kruse’s chest.
The video shows a man, which Kruse acknowledges is him, appearing on camera smoking a cigarette, smiling and wearing a shirt. In the lower corner of the screen, a woman’s face appears in a smaller screen, which is typical during a video chat.
The video does not have any audio and soon a message in French appears on the screen warning of a connection error.
About halfway through the nearly 4-minute video, Kruse stands up, removes his shirt and takes a seat in a recliner.
Oregon State Police Captain Bill Fugate confirmed this morning that they had contacted Kruse in order to investigate whether Kruse was the victim of an extortion attempt.
Kruse told The News-Review on Saturday that he was contacted by police, and that he did not know who had contacted them. Fugate said he believed the contact was from someone in the legislature. The News-Review has filed a request for the police records in the case.
Kruse recalled the online chat recorded in the video. He said he was speaking to a woman he believed was a 52-year-old from Texas, but that an investigation uncovered she was actually in Ghana.
He said the woman he spoke to was not the woman who appears in the corner of the screen.
The caption underneath the video also suggests that nine-year-old girls were watching, but there’s no evidence of that. Kruse said it’s “pure bullshit.”
“That was a private conversation between what I thought was me and a consenting adult, and we were just having fun,” he said.
He said he cut off contact with the woman when “it started getting a little hinkier than I wanted.”
“I was just having a conversation with somebody, and then she or he or whoever was in charge of it started going in a direction I didn’t like. I just severed all communication,” he said.
Kruse said there was no masturbation, and it was a dating site, not a porn chat site.
“I’m sitting in my chair talking,” he said.
“What I saw, the video quality was really poor. I would suggest it’s that poor on purpose, so they can make these assertions and you really can’t see. It almost looks like it was kind of pieced together. I don’t know, the whole thing is really strange,” he said.