ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – As sexual harassment allegations continue to mount at the State Capitol, Gov. Mark Dayton spoke out for the first time on camera since stories surfaced last week.
At a news conference Wednesday, Dayton called the allegations “atrocities.” He called on the lawmakers accused to resign, but admitted that no one can force them to step down.
“The only honorable thing for him to do is resign,” Dayton said, when speaking about the allegations against State Sen. Dan Schoen (D-District 54).
Dayton has also called for a comprehensive review of the Legislature’s policies on sexual harassment, which includes the reporting process.
“So that we provide rapid, and effective, and consistent response to anyone who is encountering these atrocities,” Dayton said. “There is no place for this in the workplace, in government or anywhere else in Minnesota. And we need to do a better job of standing up for those who are being oppressed.”
This comes as a Minnesota Senate staff member has now filed a formal complaint against Schoen. Staffer Ellen Anderson claims Schoen sent her a picture of male genitalia over Snapchat in 2015. She’s the third woman who has come forward in the past week with accusations against Schoen.
Schoen has hired an attorney and is refusing to resign, triggering a possible ethics committee hearing to publicly air the charges against him.
Multiple women have also come out with stories of sexual harassment against Republican Rep. Tony Cornish. He denies the allegations as “bogus.”
Schoen’s lawyer told MPR he has never sent any explicit photos to anyone.