MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota lawmaker has resigned, and another says he will, after both were accused of sexual harassment.
Sen. Dan Schoen (DFL-St. Paul Park) stepped down Wednesday afternoon, with his lawyer Paul Rogosheske delivering his announcement at about 3 p.m. The resignation is effective Dec. 15, according to WCCO's Jennifer Mayerle.
However, Schoen also refuted some of the claims that have been made against him.
"After consulting with my family, friends, and constituents I feel it has become necessary to resign my post as your Senator," his statement read. "I do this with great regret but due to the onslaught of calls for my resignation I do not feel I can effectively serve my constituents in this role any longer."
Schoen was not personally present at the Wednesday press conference, but his attorney, Paul Rogosheske, disputed claims from Rep. Erin Maye-Quade that Schoen made unwanted advances toward her -- releasing messages between the two he says show Maye-Quade contacted Schoen and at one point offered to introduce him to women. He believes she took other messages out of context.
Rogosheske refutes the claim Schoen grabbed house candidate Lindsey Port's rear end, and says they have witnesses that don't want to be named. He says the accusation came after learning Schoen planned to run for state auditor. Port's business partner also planned to run.
Still he said Schoen is stepping aside so important work can be done without distraction.
"You have people jumping to conclusions without any facts," Rogosheske said. "It's hard to regain that credibility and that ability to serve your district, and he came to the conclusion that it just isn't worth it."
Multiple women have come forward with their stories about Schoen (DFL-Cottage Grove), including Maye Quade, Capitol staffer Ellen Anderson and legislative candidate Lindsay Port.
A third accuser says she received an explicit Snapchat picture. Rogosheske said it was meant for an intimate partner of Schoen's and he apologizes for the error, but he would not say if Schoen apologized or acknowledged the error when the photo was sent.
Now that the senate seat will be vacated, Governor Mark Dayton said he wants the special election to be held before lawmakers return in the spring.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he wants special elections to be held before lawmakers return in the spring.
The resignations of Schoen and Cornish will stop expected ethics committee hearings into the allegations, which could have resulted in penalties up to and including expulsion, Kessler reported.
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