State Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, said Wednesday he will not resign, just days after allegations that he groped and propositioned a then-30-year-old-man in 2005 led Senate Democrats to vote him out of his position as Minority Whip and call for his resignation.
“Absolutely no resignation, no resignation,” Carroll told reporters as he left the Capitol Annex cafeteria. He declined to answer questions about the allegations against him.
Carroll, 86, entered the Capitol cafeteria during the busy lunch hour just days after the allegations broke on Spectrum News Pure Politics. While he waved to many people, he didn’t stop to speak to anyone and took his lunch up to his office. Three reporters followed him out of the cafeteria.
Carroll said hello to the reporters and welcomed them to walk with him.
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“I’m doing just fine,” Carroll said as the elevator doors closed.
Told about Carroll’s comments, Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones, D-Pikeville, said, “That’s a decision he can make, we can’t force him to resign.
“And I can’t tell you what action we as a Senate can take. That’ll be up to President Stivers.”
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Senate leadership is “still examining and reviewing the situation.”
Jones said Senate Democrats stand by their unanimous decision to ask Carroll to resign.
“Our caucus has taken a pretty firm stance on it,” Jones said.
About an hour before Carroll’s appearance in the Annex cafeteria, his friend, Frankfort attorney William E. Johnson, told the Herald-Leader that he has seen no indications that Carroll will give up his 7th Senate District seat that includes all or parts of Anderson, Franklin, Gallatin, Owen and Woodford counties.
Johnson said he has advised Carroll not to resign.
“That’s just a lawyer’s opinion,” Johnson said. “He was in the Air Force for three years and has a long record of public service, including governor and senator. He has served the people well and the people in his district know that. It’s too bad some people did not take all that into consideration.”
Asked if Senate Democrats reacted too quickly, Johnson said, “It would be my opinion that they overreacted. This man has served his state and country well and deserved more consideration.”
Carroll’s current term in office runs through the end of 2020. He has been in the Senate since 2005.
Spectrum News reported last Saturday night that Carroll in 2005 told then-30-year-old photographer Jason Geis that he would help him get into art school. But instead of helping Geis get into school, Carroll propositioned him for sex, Spectrum reported.
According to a recording obtained and aired by Spectrum, Carroll asked Geis to masturbate him and perform oral sex on him. In an interview with Spectrum, Geis also alleged that Carroll groped him.
When approached in a hallway in the Capitol by Spectrum reporter Nick Storm, Carroll denied the allegations. “It is ridiculous,” Carroll said. “It did not happen.”
Spectrum obtained a copy of a Kentucky State Police investigation into the matter, including a letter indicating that the Lincoln County Attorney decided not to prosecute the case.
“Without proof of more than a request for sexual contact, I do not believe a criminal case could or should be sought,” the letter from April 2005 said.
Spectrum said the recording is surfacing publicly now because in an article last August by Washington D.C.-based Roll Call about Kentucky’s 2016 U.S. Senate race, Carroll was interviewed about whether Lexington Mayor Jim Gray’s sexual orientation mattered in the Senate race. In that interview, Carroll was asked whether he thought being gay is a choice.
“I know my Christian friends don’t approve of it,” Carroll told Roll Call. “And quite frankly, it’s not a choice I choose to make.”
He added: “You can choose to ask God to convert you and heal you of that choice.”