Kentucky House Speaker resigns after reports of sexual harassment settlement

By Ray Downs  |  Nov. 5, 2017 at 8:47 PM
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Nov. 5 (UPI) -- Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover said he would resign his post Sunday after a report that he settled a sexual harassment claim filed by a staff member last month.

"I am announcing my resignation as speaker of the House effective immediately," Hoover said at a news conference, according to USA Today. "I will continue to serve as state representative for the people of the 83rd district" in south-central Kentucky.

The Courier Journal reported last week that Hoover and an unnamed woman believed to have been on his staff engaged in sexually suggestive text messages with each other. Sources told the newspaper that the woman re-evaluated the nature of her relationship with Hoover and concluded it was sexual harassment.

Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

On Sunday, Hoover admitted to sending sexually charged text message conversations to the woman but denied there was a physical relationship.

"I did make mistakes in that I engaged in inappropriate text messages. I engaged in banter that was consensual...And for that, I am truly sorry," Hoover said. "But as inappropriate as those text messages were, I want to reiterate that at no time -- at no time -- did I engage in unwelcome or unwanted conduct of any kind. And at no time were there ever any sexual relations."

Hoover, a Republican resigned his Speaker role one day after Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, also a Republican, called for him to step down, as well as "the immediate resignation of every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case, who is party to trying to hide this type of behavior."

"They know who they are, some have been named," Bevin said, according to CNN. "I would simply say this: For the sake of themselves, for the sake of their families and for the sake of Kentucky, they should resign. Period. The people of Kentucky deserve better than the type of shenanigans that have gone on for far too long in this town."

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