Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, engaged in a "longstanding pattern" of sexually harassing and inappropriate acts toward fellow lawmakers, staff members, students and lobbyists since at least 2011, according to an independent investigation released Tuesday evening.
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek called for Kruse to resign following the report's release.
The 51-page report details a variety of claims and allegations against Kruse, including: grabbing a lobbyist's buttock, calling a law student "sexy" and "little girl" and commenting on her legs, numerous instances of unwanted hugging, massaging, touching and kissing and whispering in people's ears.
The report says that conduct escalated during the 2017 session.
A request for comment from Kruse was not immediately returned. He has previously denied these claims.
In the report, he is said to have replied to an investigator that he "had no recollection" of particular incidents. The report also states Kruse had a change of perspective after an hour of counseling in December 2017.
In October, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, took the unprecedented step of stripping Kruse of his committee assignments because of the sexual harassment allegations.
The Senate Committee on Conduct will have its first hearing on the matter Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. The bipartisan committee consists of Sens. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, Bill Hansell, R-Athena, James Manning Jr., D-Eugene, and Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer.
The investigation began in response to formal complaints filed against Kruse in November. The first was from Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who accused Kruse of sexual harassment and unwanted touching and indicated at least 15 other women may have had similar experiences.
A few days later, Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, D-Portland, also filed a formal complaint against Kruse, alleging similar unwanted touching.
After the allegations became public, multiple politicians in the state called on Kruse to resign, including Jeanne Atkins, chairwoman of the Oregon Democratic Party, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Knute Buehler, R-Bend, and Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn.
On Monday, House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, said she would personally like to see Kruse resign, but wanted the investigation to continue.
The latter part of Kotek's position was also the one settled on by Senate leaders during a legislative preview event in late January — they want the investigation to play out.
The conduct committee's Feb. 22 hearing will consist of the investigator talking through her report and answering questions from the members. Kruse, Gelser and Steiner-Hayward will also have the opportunity to testify, as will any other witnesses they request.
The committee can recommend Kruse be reprimanded, censured or expelled. It also can take no action.
Lawmakers at the state and federal levels across the country have resigned in recent months in response to allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. Last week, an Arizona state representative was expelled from the legislature for a pattern of sexual misconduct, believed to be the first such instance since the beginning of the #MeToo movement.