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The Latest: Lobbyist who claimed harassment goes public

November 22, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Latest on sexual misconduct allegations against two Minnesota state lawmakers (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

A previously unidentified lobbyist who says she was sexually harassed by a Minnesota lawmaker has gone public.

Sarah Walker tweeted a statement Tuesday saying that the problem of sexual harassment in Minnesota and state Capitols across the country is “a nonpartisan problem that requires a nonpartisan solution.” And Walker says no one should have to accept sexual harassment “in exchange for the opportunity to work on issues in the political arena or anywhere else.”

Walker is the lobbyist who told Minnesota Public Radio that Republican state Rep. Tony Cornish had propositioned her for sex dozens of times and once forced her into a wall in an attempt to kiss her. Cornish said Tuesday he will resign from the Legislature as part of an agreement with Walker, which included his apology.

Walker says she initially chose to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation and to continuing doing public policy work at the state Capitol. But she says she later went public in the hopes of helping “others make the tough decision to speak out regarding their own stories.”


6:20 p.m.

A second Minnesota lawmaker accused of sexual misconduct also plans to resign.

Republican state Rep. Tony Cornish said Tuesday he intends to resign around Dec. 1. Cornish said in a statement he has reached an agreement in principle with an unnamed female lobbyist who told Minnesota Public Radio News that Cornish had propositioned her for sex dozens of times and once forced her into a wall in an attempt to kiss her.

Cornish says the agreement calls for him to apologize and resign. In a statement, Cornish says he apologizes for his “unwelcome behavior.”

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin also issued a statement, saying they asked Cornish to resign.

Earlier Tuesday, an attorney for Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen says Schoen, a Democrat, plans to resign in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct.


5:15 p.m.

A female lawmaker who accused Sen. Dan Schoen of sexual harassment says his resignation won’t change a problematic culture at the state Capitol.

Schoen’s attorney Paul Rogosheske told the Star Tribune that Schoen will announce his resignation Wednesday. It follows several allegations that the Democratic first-term senator made unwanted advances and groped one woman.

Rep. Erin Maye Quade is one of several women in Minnesota politics who accused Schoen of improper behavior. Maye Quade says his departure will not do enough to change a culture of sexual harassment in the Minnesota Legislature.

Maye Quade has also accused Republican Rep. Tony Cornish of harassing her and says many women who work at the Capitol have stories about other men.


4:45 p.m.

A woman who says she was groped by Minnesota Sen. Dan Schoen says news that the Democrat will resign does not bring her joy, but she hopes it’s the start of holding people accountable for improper behavior.

Lindsey Port was running for a Burnsville-area House seat in 2015 when she met Schoen at a Democratic Party event. Port says Schoen, then a state representative, made a comment about her rear end then grabbed her behind. Other women have come out with other allegations of improper conduct by Schoen.

Schoen has denied some of the allegations against him and said others were taken out of context.

Port tells The Associated Press that she hopes Schoen’s resignation is the start of changes to the way that women are protected in the workplace. She says she wishes that Schoen had taken responsibility for his actions and apologized.


4:25 p.m.

An attorney for Minnesota state Sen. Dan Schoen says Schoen plans to resign in the wake of accusations of sexual misconduct.

Paul Rogosheske tells the Star Tribune that Schoen plans to resign at a news conference on Wednesday. Rogosheske says that Schoen, a Democrat from St. Paul Park, doesn’t feel he can be effective anymore.

Rogosheske didn’t immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

Schoen, 42, was accused by a Democratic candidate for office of grabbing her buttocks in 2015. Another candidate who is now a fellow Democratic lawmaker said he sent her a string of suggestive texts, and a Senate employee said he texted her a picture of male genitalia.

Schoen denied the lawmakers’ allegations, saying they were false or taken out of context.

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