November 10, 2017 07:38 PM
Two of the women who have accused Minnesota lawmakers of sexual harassment are calling on the governor and top legislators to form a sexual harassment task force at the Capitol.
The call for a task force comes after Sen. Dan Schoen and Rep. Tony Cornish were accused of sexual harassment.
Rep. Erin Maye Quade, House of Representatives candidate Lindsey Port and Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn signed a letter calling for the task force. Both Maye Quade and Port accused Schoen of unwanted suggestive texts. Port also says Schoen inappropriately touched her back in 2015.
After lawmakers started to call for Schoen's resignation, Quade also accused Cornish of sending inappropriate text messages. In addition, an anonymous lobbyist has accused Cornish of inappropriate physical contact. Cornish acknowledges the texts with Maye Quade calling them friendly and playful, and says his communication with the lobbyist happened when the two were considering a romantic relationship with one another.
"As state elected officials, party officials and candidates for elected office, we call on you to take action immediately on revelations of sexual misconduct by elected officials in the State Legislature," the letter read.
The letter said the task force would establish a system of reporting sexual harassment and would make recommendations to improve sexual harassment culture in the legislature and campaigns. The letter requests the task force be made up of experts in sexual harassment, human resources and public sector employment law.
"Minnesota State Government should set the standard for zero tolerance of sexual harassment in the workplace," reads the letter. "We believe legislators, candidates, lobbyists and staff members should be able to work in a safe place, free of harassment, threats or inappropriate contact.
KSTP has been unable to reach Schoen for comment. His attorney, Paul Rogosheske, says, "To jump ahead on these allegations is premature," urging lawmakers to wait until an investigation into the allegations plays out. "For politicians to call for his recognition is inappropriate."
Ben Rodgers and Katherine Johnson
Updated: November 10, 2017 07:38 PM
Created: November 10, 2017 11:43 AM
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