State Rep. Who Co-Authored Legislation to Help Sexual Assault Victims Accused of Misconduct

April 26, 2018 06:36 PM

A woman has filed a report with the St. Paul Police Department accusing a state legislator, who has worked on bill proposals to assist sexual assault victims, of misconduct.

According to Sgt. Mike Ernster, with the St. Paul Police Department, a woman accused State Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, of stroking her hair, tracing her ear with his finger, kissing her cheek, holding her hands and hugging her.

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KSTP reached out to Hamilton, who issued the following statement: 

"As someone who has worked for years with at-risk men and women, including survivors of sexual assault, I deeply regret the effect my actions had on (name redacted). During my interactions with (name redacted), I intended to offer comfort and compassion to a person who was going through a difficult time. I now understand that my actions, while well-intentioned may be viewed differently by a survivor of sexual assault, and that it may have caused additional pain and hardship. For that I fully apologize. I categorically deny accusations of sexual assault—as stated in the article, according to a spokesperson from the Ramsey County attorney's office, these actions '...did not meet the elements of criminal sexual conduct.' In the interest of full transparency and cooperation, I have reported this incident to the House Human Resources Department. To date, I have not been contacted by law enforcement regarding these allegations, but I will cooperate fully with any investigation conducted either by law enforcement or the House Human Resources Department."

According to Ernster, after the Ramsey County Attorney's Office was contacted regarding the case, an attorney told investigators it did not appear elements of a crime were present.

Ernster said the case remains open and active, however.

House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, issued a joint statement Thursday, confirming Hamilton had been suspended as chair of the committees on which he serves.

RELATED: Sexual Harassment Training Continuing at State Capitol

"Rep. Rod Hamilton reported to the House Director of Human Resources that he had been accused of sexual assault," the statement reads. "We are suspending his chairmanship and have instructed the House's non-partisan HR department to begin their complaint process per the new House policy on discrimination and harassment."

This session, Hamilton co-authored legislation that would create a new, statewide account to channel funds for sexual assault prevention and education programs.

"The resilience shown by the survivors is truly amazing," Hamilton said in a statement released March 22. "They battle through the hurt to explain their personal trauma, hoping that by lending their voice others won't face a similar situation. Clearly sexual assault is a statewide if not national problem, and as lawmakers, we should be doing more to address this very serious topic."

LIST: Notable Figures Facing Allegations of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Stay with KSTP.com for updates on this case.

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Rebecca Omastiak

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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