Kentucky House Speaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct Rethinks Resignation

Kentucky GOP House Speaker Jeff Hoover attends annual ethics and anti-sexual harassment training for the state legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, in Frankfort, Ky. (AP Photo/Adam Beam)

(CN)–The Kentucky House speaker who announced his resignation two months ago following a sexual harassment settlement is rethinking that course, attending mandatory anti-harassment training with his colleagues on Wednesday.

Republican Jeff Hoover said in November he planned to resign as Kentucky’s speaker after admitting he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim outside of court with a staffer.

But when the legislature convened on Tuesday, Hoover was in attendance, permitting House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborn to manage the chamber.

After the Legislative Ethics Commission investigates the settlement and determines whether Hoover used funds from his supporters to pay for it, Hoover could return as speaker.

In the meantime, Hoover and his colleagues attended a mandatory anti-harassment training on Wednesday that was closed to the public.  The Legislative Research Commission conducted the training, which stems from reforms established several years ago when state workers sued a state representative for sexual harassment.

According to the Associated Press, Hoover declined to talk with reporters about the training.  However, he did state that Republican Gov. Matt Bevin was “very misinformed” with his expectation that Hoover resign.

Even when he planned to resign, Hoover denied sexually harassing a staffer who worked for the House Republican Caucus. He did admit to sending her inappropriate text messages, which he says were consensual.

Hoover’s resignation would not become official until he formally submitted it to the House, which can only happen when the House is in session.

Hoover said in a statement that Osborne will preside over the House until the two issues pending with the Legislative Ethics Commission are resolved.

But the Democratic Caucus is calling for Hoover to resign, according to House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins.

Republican Rep. Wesley Morgan, who has filed a resolution to push out Hoover, said he was “dumbfounded” by Hoover’s choice not to resign, according to an Associated Press report.

Daisy Olivo, a House Republican Caucus spokeswoman, has filed a lawsuit claiming Hoover had a sexual relationship with a woman who accused him of sexual harassment and used money from political donors to pay the settlement.

The woman’s attorney said the claims in the lawsuit are untrue.

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