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Report: Kruse engaged in offensive conduct

Third-party investigator says Kruse's behavior continued even after he was asked to stop.

Posted: Feb. 7, 2018 12:14 AM
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 5:32 PM

SALEM, Ore. -- A report from an independent investigator concludes that Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, engaged in a longstanding pattern of conduct that was offensive to two female senators and other legislators and employees in the Capitol.

The conduct included unwelcome physical contact such as hugging and touching, the report stated.

The report, which was released Tuesday, also stated that Kruse "stubbornly refused to change that behavior after being warned about it in March 2016."

However, the third party investigator, Portland attorney Dian Rubanoff, also concluded that Kruse did not intend to hurt or offend anyone.

Rubanoff said Kruse cooperated with her investigation.

"He has a good sense of humor and I enjoyed getting to know him," she wrote.

She said that Kruse's colleagues described him as a positive contributor to the business of the senate.

Reacting to the report, Gov. Kate Brown (D) called for Kruse to resign, as did house Speaker Tina Kotek (D).

Community members in Roseburg are reacting to the resignation request. Most of them believe stepping down would be the right decision if the allegations are true, but many of them also have a hard time picturing him doing something like that. They said they know him as a nice business owner in town that they don't know to behave inappropriately.

One resident said this shouldn't give a bad look to Roseburg, but should point out how society needs to continue changing.

”I don’t know that it reflects badly on Roseburg, I think it reflects badly on our society as a whole, if this is going on on a lot of different levels, people are becoming more aware of it," said Tony D'Agnese, a Roseburg resident.

The investigation into Kruse's conduct began in November when Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and Sen. Sara Gelser filed separate complaints against him alleging harassment. However, questions about Kruse's behavior have dogged him for years prior to the formal complaints.

The report will now be considered by the senate conduct committee, which will hold a public hearing on Feb. 22.

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