Oregon official: Statehouse leaders allowed hostile environment

Avakian said many failed to act quickly on complaints that then-Sen. Jeff Kruse was sexually harassing others and subjecting them to unwanted touching.

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 5:15 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon's labor commissioner has accused political leaders in the Legislature and officials in the state Capitol of permitting "a generally hostile environment based upon sex."

In his complaint, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek, all Democrats, and others failed to act quickly on complaints that then-Sen. Jeff Kruse was sexually harassing others and subjecting them to unwanted touching. Kruse resigned in February after an investigation.

Avakian's complaint, reported earlier by Oregon Public Broadcasting, said as early as March 2016, the Legislature's leaders and other officials knew or should have known of Kruse's behavior but did not take immediate action.

Spokesmen for Courtney and Kotek did not immediately reply to emailed requests for comment. The Legislature is currently in recess.

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