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Both MN lawmakers accused of sexual harassment will resign, reports say

Rep. Tony Cornish and Sen. Dan Schoen will both step down.
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Update 6 p.m. – Rep. Tony Cornish to resign

Rep. Tony Cornish is following his fellow state lawmaker, Sen. Dan Schoen, in announcing his resignation from the Minnesota Legislature following sexual harassment allegations.

The Vernon Center Republican confirmed in a statement, he plans to resign on or before Dec. 1.

"As a proud former peace officer and longtime champion for public safety, I am forced to face the reality that I have made some at the Capitol feel uncomfortable, and disrespected," the 66-year-old told the newspaper. "To those individuals and specifically the unnamed lobbyist, I sincerely apologize for my unwelcome behavior."

"I would also like to apologize to God, my family, my constituents, and friends for the mistakes I have made," Cornish added.

Cornish was accused of sexual harassment last week by one of his DFL colleagues in the House, Rep. Erin Maye Quade, and by a lobbyist. 

The lobbyist, who asked to remain anonymous, said Cornish, serving his eighth term in the House, made a comment about his erection to her during a private meeting four years ago, and sent suggestive texts despite being told she wasn't interested.

Rep. Quade provided texts to MPR and the Star Tribune in which Cornish says he was caught staring at her on the House floor, telling her she looked "too damned good."

He had denied the lobbyist's allegation and said the texts that offended Rep. Erin Maye Quade were meant as a joke.

But in his statement, Cornish said he was resigning after "reaching an agreement in principle with the unnamed lobbyist that has been mentioned."

Schoen to step down

Minnesota state senator Dan Schoen is resigning.

It comes after allegations of sexual harassment were made by a former DFL candidate and one of his fellow DFL lawmakers.

Schoen met with Sen. Tom Bakk, leader of the Democrats in the Minnesota Senate, on Tuesday, and several hours later his attorney told various media he had decided to resign, WCCO reports.

The Star Tribune notes he's expected to announce his resignation on Wednesday afternoon.

The allegations were first reported by MinnPost, with Lindsey Port, a DFL candidate, saying she was door-knocking with Schoen in 2015 when he made harassing comments and grabbed her buttocks.

And current Rep. Erin Maye Quade said Schoen sent her unsolicited texts in late 2015 (before she was elected to the Minnesota House) about getting drinks or meeting up, despite her repeatedly declining.

Schoen, a police officer and father of two, has denied the allegations.

He represents District 54, which includes the southeast Twin Cities metro (the Cottage Grove, Hastings, and Afton area).

He faced calls to resign after the allegations were made, with Sen. Bakk, Governor Mark Dayton and DFL state chair Ken Martin among those calling on him to step down.

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