RAW VIDEO | Gov. Matt Bevin calls for immediate resignation of government employees settling sexual harassment claims
Gov. Matt Bevin is calling for the immediate resignation of any government employee who has settled a sexual harassment claim.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Governor Matt Bevin is calling for the immediate resignation of any government employee who has settled a sexual harassment claim.
"You either condone this behavior, or you condemn it," Bevin said Saturday during a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda.
The conference came amid reports claiming Kentucky's Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover had paid an out-of-court settlement to a female aid over allegations of sexual harassment.
Rep. Wesley Morgan says a source in the speaker's office told him Rep. Jim Decesare, Rep. Michael Meredith, and Rep. Brian Linder are also facing harassment allegations. Rep. Morgan has also contacted the FBI, as he believes the way lawmakers attempted to cover up the harassment is a federal crime.
House Republicans were originally scheduled to discuss the pension bill in Frankfort on Friday, but instead spent a nearly three-hour closed-door meeting discussing those allegations.
Majority Leader Jonathan Shell emerged from the meeting to tell reporters that there was no formal vote, and they are standing behind Hoover, who did not speak to reporters following the meeting.
Saturday, Gov. Bevin called the allegations "reprehensible" regarding the sexual harassment claims of all government employees, but did not mention House Speaker Hoover by name.
The governor said it is not about naming names, but specific behavior when calling for the resignation of everyone named.
“These allegations are increasingly becoming corroborated by additional voices,” Bevin said.
Bevin did not take questions from reporters following the conference, but released the following statement on alleged misconduct from members of the House of Representatives:
"These alleged actions, which haven’t been denied, are reprehensible, indefensible and unacceptable. Any elected official or state employee who has settled a sexual harassment claim should resign immediately," said Gov. Bevin. "The people of Kentucky deserve better. We appropriately demand a high level of integrity from our leaders, and will tolerate nothing less in our state."
Kentucky’s Governor says the accused should not hesitate in taking action.
“For the sake of themselves, for the sake of their families, for the sake of Kentucky they should resign,” Bevin said.
Other Kentucky lawmakers released statements following the governor's press conference, echoing his stance that sexual harassment by elected officials or state employees will not be tolerated.
House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins said in a statement Saturday that an independent investigation into the allegations is necessary.
"The House Democratic Caucus is against workplace harassment in any shape or form," Adkins said. "Given the allegations that have been publicized today and in the recent past, it is necessary that an independent, objective and full investigation be done. Those individuals who have been proven to have engaged in harassing conduct or anything else improper should do the right thing and resign from their positions."
Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes also released a statement after the press conference, joining Gov. Bevin in condemning the allegations, adding that any state employee accused, including elected officials, should be held accountable.
"I join Governor Bevin in condemning the inexcusable actions that have come to light regarding members of the Republican House majority, including leadership. As Secretary of State, I have a zero-tolerance policy regarding harassment and hostile work environments with respect to the Secretary of State and State Board of Elections offices," Grimes said. "It is the obligation of state employees — including elected officials — to maintain workplaces where every colleague and constituent is respected. Those who do not meet that standard should resign or be terminated and held accountable."
You can watch Gov. Bevin's full press conference in the video player above.
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.