Oregon state Sen. Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg) has resigned, two days after the release of an investigation into his alleged sexual harassment of Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) and Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-Portland), as well as Salem interns and lobbyists.
Kruse is the highest-profile Oregonian brought low since the #MeToo movement began confronting men with allegations of workplace sexual harassment.
In his statement of resignation, he continued to deny the allegations.
"Today I tender my resignation so my colleagues may focus on serving Oregonians without distraction," he said in a statement.
Kruse's resignation is effective March 15. But that may not satisfy growing calls for his immediate and permanent departure from the Capitol.
Gelser says he should resign effective immediately.
"I am pleased that he resigned, but do not understand why it is not immediate," she tells WW. "The severity of the findings of fact would suggest an immediate resignation is warranted in order to ensure safety for all women in the building."
The investigation found that Kruse repeatedly touched his female colleagues even after they asked him not to. It described "a pattern of conduct that was offensive to Senator Gelser and Senator Steiner Hayward, as well as other legislators and employees at the Capitol."
Gelser stepped forward last fall to accuse Kruse of inappropriate conduct. The Oregonian first reported the allegations.
Her complaint was a remarkable political reversal. She tweeted an accusation of Kruse's misconduct last fall after a Republican operative accused her of taking donations from the movie mogul and sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein.
Gelser was featured as Time magazine's Person of the Year 2017 as a "Silence Breaker."
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) said Kruse's resignation was overdue.
"The revelations in the report about Senator Kruse's actions are devastating," she said in a statement. "I believe the women who courageously came forward. It was past time for Senator Kruse to resign. We now have work to do to make our Capitol a harassment-free workplace, and that all individuals are respected."