As pressure against Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen mounts, two female lawmakers say others in the legislature have a history of acting inappropriately towards woman.
Sen. Schoen (DFL-Cottage Grove) has been accused of sexual harassment by former DFL candidate Lindsay Port and current state Rep. Erin Maye Quade, whose stories were published by MinnPost on Thursday.
This was swiftly followed Thursday lunchtime with a statement from Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL-Roseville), who said: "Sen. Schoen is not the only person in the Minnesota Legislature to act inappropriately towards women."
"My hope is that as the truth comes to light, others will feel empowered to step forward so we can meaningfully work towards true change at our State Capitol," she added. "It is everyone’s responsibility to call out this behavior, regardless of political party or status."
She went on to join the calls for Sen. Schoen's resignation, saying she too knew about a "pattern" of Schoen's behavior.
Quade accuses GOP caucus
Becker-Finn's comments were echoed by Quade, who released her own statement saying she has also been subjected to harassment by Republican lawmakers.
"As a candidate, I experienced it with Sen. Schoen, as a legislator, I’ve experienced it by multiple members of the majority and reported it," she said.
She slammed house speaker Kurt Daudt, who told MPR he had not been alerted to any complaints of sexual harassment since he became speaker.
She said that she had been subjected to inappropriate behavior by members of the GOP caucus back in May, and knew that Daudt had been specifically informed.
"I’m disappointed in Speaker Daudt’s false statements yesterday to Minnesota Public Radio that he had no prior knowledge of misconduct," she said.
She has been backed up by House DFL Leader Melissa Hortman, who released the copy of an email she sent to Daudt in May asking him to "stop the sexual harassment that is occurring."
"Though he had the opportunity back in May, I hope he follows DFL Leadership’s lead with swift action," Quade said.
Daudt told MPR he had been in discussions with Hortman for months about providing sexual harassment training for members.
Rep. Daudt responds
Daudt issued a statement at 3:35 p.m. on Thursday, re-iterating his comments to MPR that he had not been made aware of "specific complaints" of sexual harassment "and the names of those responsible."
"In a recent radio interview where I brought up this discussion, I accurately shared that ‘we take sexual harassment in the Minnesota House very seriously and I have not had a specific complaint of sexual harassment since I have been speaker.’"
"Leader Hortman’s recommended course of action included asking me to speak to my caucus about what is and what is not sexual harassment, which I did. I asked her to do the same and I assume she has done so.
"We also agreed to conduct a mandatory harassment and discrimination training at the beginning of the next session which has been planned. It was my understanding at the time this satisfactorily addressed Leader Hortman’s concerns which we took very seriously."