Last fall, when the sexual harassment complaints against Roseburg (Oregon) Senator Jeff Kruse surfaced, he was accused of “ongoing workplace issues,” without a lot more detail provided. People reacted seriously, but for those of us without knowledge of the specifics – and an unwillingness to prejudge in a time when j’accuse too often seems enough for conviction – a clear assessment was harder to make.
That’s not a problem now.
A detailed investigation of Kruse’s activities was conducted, and this week the results, 51 tightly-spaced pages worth, were released.
Before this report, we were left wondering what exactly it was he did – and with one small exception, he did not deny the allegations (saying in some cases that he didn’t remember) – and so left wondering whether this was serious stuff. Taken together, and in some cases even as individual incidents, this was certainly worth the uproar.
Part of the conclusion read, “there is a longstanding pattern of Senator Kruse engaging in unwelcome physical contact toward females in the workplace, including Senator [Sara] Gelser and Senator [Elizabeth] Steiner Hayward, and that he stubbornly refused to change that behavior after being warned about it in March 2016.” There were other people and incidents involved too, but what seemed most especially pertinent was the unwillingness to change his activities and approach. I can understand not reading someone else’s mind, or intuiting their preferences; persisting after those concerns were conveyed (in this case even through official channels) is highly noteworthy.
Many of the MeToo cases in recent months have exposed clearly bad behavior, while some have seemed – to me – in a grayer area. The report is recommended reading. It makes clear that Kruse was not operating in a gray zone, and that clarity should help with moving through what is likely to come next. – rs