Politics & Government

‘Repulsive.’ Bevin renews call for House members in harassment scandal to resign

Bevin calls for resignations, decries 'a culture that is despicable'

Gov. Matt Bevin addressed sexual harassment claims regarding members of the state House. "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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Gov. Matt Bevin addressed sexual harassment claims regarding members of the state House. "The people of Kentucky deserve better than the type of shenanigans that have gone on for far too long in this town."

Gov. Matt Bevin is not satisfied with the repercussions for the four Republican Representatives who secretly settled a sexual harassment claim made by a member of their staff.

In an interview with Terry Meiners of WHAS on Tuesday, Bevin said it’s not enough that the representatives step down from leadership; he said they need to resign from office.

“Are we saying that hey, you’re allowed to be a married legislator, paid by tax payers, go to Frankfort and do sexually inappropriate things with your young employees, as long as you’re not in leadership, that’s OK?” Bevin said. “Is that the message we’re trying to send? To me it’s just disgusting and repulsive and inappropriate.”

Bevin called for the immediate resignation of anyone who settled a sexual harassment case shortly after the allegations were made public. Since his statement, Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, has stepped down as House Speaker and three more members were removed from their position as chairmen of their respective committees. None have resigned from office. The remaining members of House leadership have launched an investigation into the sexual harassment claims and have said the results will be released next week.

Both Hoover and Rep. Brian Linder, R-Dry Ridge, have apologized for inappropriate behavior, but neither admitted any wrongdoing in the settlement. The two other representatives, Michael Meredith, R-Oakland, and Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, have stayed relatively silent on the matter, but DeCesare has said he does not plan to resign.

In recent weeks, sexual harassment and assault allegations have rocked the country. From statehouses to newsrooms to movie sets, there have been weekly, if not daily, allegations about men who have acted inappropriately toward women, often abusing their positions of power in the process.

Bevin said men need to be more responsible for their actions.

“It’s about being an adult for crying out loud,” Bevin said. “I’m a normal man and so are you, and people are people. But for crying out loud have a little self control. It’s just unacceptable. There’s just no excuse for the kind of behaviors we’re talking about here. There just isn’t. Whether it’s an inappropriate comment, whether it’s an inappropriate use of one’s hand, whether it’s an inappropriate use of texting and photographs.”

While Bevin came out strongly against the lawmakers who settled the sexual harassment claim in Frankfort, he backed off when asked about other men who have been accused across the country, like U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.

“If you keep drawing circles and bands and go with every rumor and every allegation, heck, you’d probably have six people left working in America,” Bevin said. “The point is, I’m not trying to cast aspersions everywhere, but if other people were to subsequently try to hide these similar indiscretions, they too should step down.”

When asked if he felt like he needed to defend himself in light of the recent rash of sexual harassment and assault claims echoing around the country, Bevin said he didn’t.

“I’m 50 years old. Never in my entire life have I felt the need to be sexually inappropriate with someone that I shouldn’t be,” Bevin said. “Never. And I don’t think I’m that unique or different. I just think people need to have a little more self control and stop using 1,001 excuses to cover up their bad behaviors.”

Daniel Desrochers: 502-875-3793, @drdesrochers, @BGPolitics

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