One prominent state Republican has had to step down from his leadership position in light of sexual harassment claims from one of his staffers.
Kentucky’s House Speaker, Jeff Hoover (R), resigned on Sunday after acknowledging he settled sexual harassment claims, according to ABC News.
Although the Republican denied sexually harassing his staff member, Hoover did concede to misconduct. While speaking publicly on the scandal, Hoover admitted he sent inappropriate text messages that were consensual.
“I engaged in banter that was consensual but make no mistake, it was wrong on my part to do that. And for that, I am truly sorry,” Mr. Hoover said, as his wife and two of his three daughters looked on. “I want to reiterate that at no time–at no time–did I engage in unwelcome or unwanted conduct of any kind.”
Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, who represents the victim, said his client had “legitimate concerns about workplace conduct. Our client was not coerced by anyone to resolve the matter and has been satisfied with the resolution,” he added. “We look forward to moving past this matter.”
Jeff Hoover said he received a letter on Oct. 17th from a lawyer whose client made allegations of sexual harassment against him and other political figures. Although the former-House Speaker did not identify the other people involved, multiple sources have identified them as three Republican committee chairmen: Rep. Michael Meredith, Rep. Jim Decesare, and Rep. Ginger Wills. Hoover’s chief of staff, Ginger Wills, was also implicated as well.
A press release from the House GOP leadership has confirmed they are “removing implicated committee chairmen from their roles, pending the outcome of the investigation,” but did not name the individuals in question.
Mr. Hoover said that everyone involved had reached an agreement on October 25th and no-one had admitted to any wrongdoing, but everyone involved did agree to keep the settlement secret as the victim was going to keep her job. However, when The Courier-Journal reported the settlement based on an anonymous source, the House speaker felt compelled to resign.
“We are asking any member of the House Republican caucus who is or believes they will be implicated in this matter to inform this leadership team immediately if their name has not already surfaced in the public domain,” read a statement attributed to new House Speaker David Osborne and three other House GOP leaders. “We were blindsided but remain determined to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.”
Hoover’s resignation came just a day after Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin (R) called for “the immediate resignation of every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case, who is party to trying to hide this type of behavior,” according to CNN. “I would simply say this: For the sake of themselves, for the sake of their families and for the sake of Kentucky, they should resign. Period. The people of Kentucky deserve better than the type of shenanigans that have gone on for far too long in this town.”
Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R) has resigned after settling claims of sexual harassment. Are sexual harassment crimes becoming more rampant in American society?
“I expect the immediate resignation of everyone named,” the Governor concluded. Mr. Hoover, abiding by the Governor’s request, asked for forgiveness from his wife, his children, and from God.
If the allegations are true, then the decisions to resign would be the least that these Republican officials could do to make amends.