The #metoo campaign hit home in a big way in 2017, after state Sen. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, alleged Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg, had inappropriately touched her.
Gelser’s allegations, which included that Kruse had hugged her, groped her and whispered so close that her ear was wet, first emerged on Twitter. They propelled her into the national spotlight when she was included as part of Time’s Person of the Year 2017, the Silence Breakers, referring to women who reported sexual harassment.
Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, announced that Kruse would be barred from committees, severely curtailing his ability to be effective as a legislator. Kruse also lost the door to his office, thanks to his persistent habit of smoking in the building in violation of state law.
Kruse admitted the smoking, but denied Gelser’s harassment allegations.
Oregon State Police subsequently revealed they’d investigated what appeared to be an online porn chat session involving Kruse that was apparently taped by the woman on the other end and posted on YouTube.
Police said they had been tipped off about the video by Courtney’s chief of staff. They broke off their investigation into whether Kruse had been a victim of a blackmail attempt after Kruse claimed he was acting in the videos to investigate possible video scams.
Though there have been demands for him to resign, Kruse has said he has no intention of stepping down.