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'Today I tender my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians'

Oregon state Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg. (KATU File Photo)

SALEM, Ore. - Senator Jeff Kruse, the Republican state lawmaker from Roseburg accused of sexually harassing female colleagues, has tendered his resignation effective March 15, even as he continues to deny the allegations against him.

"I continue to deny these allegations and I regret that I will not have the opportunity to defend myself before the Senate Conduct Committee," Kruse said in a written statement. "However, today I tender my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians without distraction and my constituents may receive the fullest representation they are due."

"Senator Kruse has tendered his resignation today, effective March 15, 2018," Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, said in a statemetn. "I want to thank him for his 22 years of service to Oregon. He has been a true advocate for his district and rural Oregon. As we move forward, we must work to provide a safe work environment for all."

His resignation comes after Gov. Kate Brown and other lawmakers, including ones in his own party, called for him to step down.

An investigation released Tuesday determined Kruse had harassed multiple women in the Capitol building with prolonged hugging, groping and other unwelcome physical contact.

The report documented allegations that he harassed female colleagues while talking to them in public areas of the Senate.

Kruse, a Republican from Roseburg, Oregon, had been stripped of his committee assignments by the Senate president late last year because of the complaints.

The president of the Oregon state Senate said Kruse made the right decision. Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, said the resignation by the long-serving Republican ends a difficult chapter for the Legislature but the discussion on ending harassment must continue.

Statement from Senator Jeff Kruse

For civil rights to be meaningful, there must be civil rights for all people, including the right to fundamental fairness for persons accused of harassment.
In recent weeks there have been allegations that I harassed female colleagues while talking to them in public areas of the Senate. I continue to deny these allegations and I regret that I will not have the opportunity to defend myself before the Senate Conduct Committee. However, today I tender my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians without distraction and my constituents may receive the fullest representation they are due.
Serving the people of Curry and portions of Coos, Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties for the past 22 years has been the greatest honor of my life. I have been proud to serve alongside my colleagues in the Oregon House and Senate, and I am very proud of my accomplishments in healthcare and education. I look forward to returning to the wonderful community that has supported me for over two decades.


The Associated Press contributed to this report

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