November 12, 2017 06:12 PM
The above video first aired with a related story on Nov. 10.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the Minnesota House will hire an outside firm to conduct an independent investigation into sexual harassment claims against Rep. Tony Cornish.
Daudt said he met Friday with Minority Leader Melissa Hortman and House human resources staff and agreed with the recommendation from the non-partisan House Resources Department.
The House will also select a firm to conduct mandatory harassment training at the beginning of the 2018 legislative session.
Daudt has suspended Cornish's chairmanship to the Public Safety and Security Policy Finance Committee amid two claims of sexual harassment.
In a statement Thursday, Daudt said he has also instructed the House's human resource department to begin a complaint process.
Cornish said he is aware both Erin Maye Quade and an anonymous woman are accusing him of sexual harassment.
Cornish said Maye Quade is accusing him of sending inappropriate text messages. He said he had texted Maye Quade but claimed they were not inappropriate.
Cornish also faces allegations from a female DFL lobbyist who accuses him of inappropriate physical contact in his office and harassment via text message. Cornish said he and the lobbyist were planning a romantic relationship, and the allegations are false.
However, the woman who wants to remain anonymous for now because it could hurt her career, told KSTP Friday afternoon that Cornish has repeatedly sexually harassed her for nearly ten years. She says it has "never, ever stopped."
She denies ever pursuing a relationship with Cornish. She has retained an attorney to represent her.
Also on Friday, former Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who served from 2011 to 2013, says he had a "private meeting" with Cornish at one point and told him "in the strongest possible terms that sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated..."
He told Cornish he would immediately begin disciplinary proceedings against him if he received a formal complaint. Zellers now says he thinks Cornish should resign.
Updated: November 12, 2017 06:12 PM
Created: November 11, 2017 01:51 PM
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