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Governor, Legislative Leaders Call for Senator to Resign amidst Sexual Harassment Claims

November 09, 2017 11:17 PM

Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith are joining Minnesota lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling for a state senator's resignation following accusations of sexual harassment.

Several women are publicly speaking out and accusing DFL Senator Dan Schoen of sexual harassment.

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The allegations surfaced last night after the women detailed their stories in an article by the MinnPost, a nonprofit online newspaper.

— Tom Hauser (@thauserkstp) November 9, 2017

DFL and GOP state leaders are now calling on Schoen to step down. Schoen denied the allegations to MinnPost and says he doesn't plan to resign,

Schoen, a first-term senator, also spent two terms in the Minnesota House. He's also an officer for the Cottage Grove Police Department.

He has been placed on administrative duty by his police department until the state investigates the allegations. The city's statement said it knew of no allegations against Schoen involving his police duties.

State representative Erin Maye-Quade tells MinnPost she was sent unwanted suggestive texts from Schoen nearly two years ago.

After sharing her story Maye-Quade took to Twitter, saying she spoke out so "we can stop having these stories."

She added that she's proud to stand with these women to end pervasive sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Port - a DFL House candidate - told MinnPost Schoen made sexual comments and even made inappropriate contact with her at a political event in Minneapolis more than two years ago.

Port added on Twitter that "this cannot be the future, and I refuse to be silent."

 

 

DFL Rep. Erin Murphy is among those calling for Schoen's resignation. The two women had confided in Murphy about the alleged sexual harassment. Port asked Murphy to file a complaint with the executive director of the DFL caucus, which Murphy says she did.

"She did describe with fairly clear and graphic detail the things he said and did to her," Murphy said. "I'm real disturbed by it. I'm real disappointed in Sen. Schoen. From my perspective what he did was wrong and that's why I called for his resignation."

Additionally, Senate DFL caucus leader Tom Bakk said he and a few other senators talked about the allegations and unanimously agreed to call on Schoen to resign.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin also released a statement in response to the allegations:

These disturbing allegations make clear that no workplace, including Minnesota's State Capitol, is immune to sexual harassment. The DFL stands strongly with the women who bravely shared their difficult stories, and all others who may have been harassed by Senator Dan Schoen. There is no room in our party for sexual harassment. The DFL calls for Senator Schoen's immediate resignation.

Schoen tells the MinnPost the allegations are either false or out of context.

Dayton released the following statement Thursday morning: 

The reported acts of harassment from Senator Schoen are totally unacceptable and unbefitting of the office in which he serves. I join Senator Bakk and Members of the Senate DFL Caucus, who have called for Senator Schoen’s immediate resignation. This behavior cannot be tolerated in Minnesota's workplaces or in our communities.

Smith also released a statement: 

Reports that Senator Schoen has sexually harassed my friends and colleagues in the state legislature are terrible to read about. These women deserve better. All women deserve better. The only way to put a stop to this kind of degrading, disrespectful and harmful behavior is to expose it. I’m grateful these women spoke out. Senator Schoen has no choice but to resign immediately. And to any other man, in the Legislature or any workplace, who sees himself in these stories and tries to rationalize this kind of behavior, must understand: treating anyone like this is unacceptable and must stop.

Schoen's attorney, Paul Rogosheske, called the lawmakers call for Schoen's resignation premature and inappropriate.

"For the Governor to make these allegations without any knowledge of any facts is mind boggling," he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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