Schoen, Cornish Plan to Resign from Legislature Amid Sexual Harassment Claims

November 21, 2017 10:20 PM

Two embattled state lawmakers facing sexual harassment allegations plan to resign.

In recent weeks, both State Sen. Dan Schoen and State Rep. Tony Cornish have been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

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Schoen's attorney said Tuesday afternoon the lawmaker plans to announce his resignation Wednesday. Tuesday evening, Cornish announced through a statement his intention to resign by Dec. 1.

Attorney Paul Rogosheske said Schoen doesn't feel he can be effective anymore. The move comes in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Sources told KSTP that Schoen, through his attorney, will challenge some of the accusations made by two of the three women who have accused him of sexual harassment.

Sources say Schoen will show a timeline of conversations between Schoen and Rep. Erin May Quade , (DFL) Apple Valley, that allegedly will be different from May Quade's public statements on when, and who, started texting each other first and what those texts actually said.

Sources also said there will be evidence at a Wednesday news conference that will show May Quade took some of the text messages out of context.

It is also expected that Schoen's legal team will show photographic evidence that questions the public accusations made against Schoen by current DFL House candidate, Lindsey Port.

Sources said Schoen's attorney will show Port accused the State Senator of groping her and making sexual remarks prior to a political event, but was later photographed with Schoen, with her arm around one of his shoulders, at a party after the event had finished.

The intent of showing this evidence, sources said, is to question Port's veracity because she is seen enjoying her time with Schoen at a party just hours after the alleged sexual harassment took place.

Sources also said a third Schoen accuser, DFL staff member Ellen Anderson, will not be challenged after she said Schoen of sent photos to her of male genitalia through a social media platform.

Other Senate sources also confirmed Schoen's plans to KSTP Tuesday. Those sources said Schoen's resignation would take effect in the "near future."

Several women came forward earlier this month, accusing Schoen of sexual harassment.

In his statement, Cornish apologized to his family, constituents and friends.

"As a proud former peace officer and longtime champion for public safety, I am forced to face the reality that I have made some at the Capitol feel uncomfortable, and disrespected," his statement read.

RELATED: Minnesota Capitol Staffer Says Senator Sent Her Sexual Image

The allegations led to calls for the lawmakers' resignation from Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL and Republican leaders in the State Legislature.

House leaders sent out a statement Thursday saying they had asked Cornish to resign.

"Over the last week, it has become increasingly clear his resignation is the most appropriate course of action for him, his constituents, and our institution," the statement said.

On Tuesday, the office of Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk confirmed the DFL leader in the Senate had met with Schoen and his attorney.

RELATED: Governor, Legislative Leaders Call for Senator to Resign Amidst Sexual Harassment Claims

Schoen, a first-term senator, also spent two terms in the Minnesota House. He's also an officer for the Cottage Grove Police Department. Though the city placed him on administrative leave following the allegations.

A source said Schoen also plans to 'reveal evidence' Wednesday, disputing allegations from State Rep. Erin Maye Quade in particular.

Maye Quade she was sent unwanted suggestive texts from Schoen nearly two years ago. May Quade also accused Cornish of inappropriate text messages.

Cornish was also accused by lobbyist Sarah Walker of sexual misconduct. Walker, who originally remained anonymous, came foreward Tuesday evening.

For her part, Maye Quade released a statement reacting to news of Schoen's planned resignation.

"The resignation of two such harassers in the Minnesota State Legislature is not enough to dismantle a pervasive culture of misogyny or to end the sexual harassment of women inside and outside the Capitol," the statement read. "Unless systematic and widespread changes are enacted, these behaviors and subsequent attempts to cover up instances of harassment will continue."

Credits

KSTP/Jay Kolls

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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