MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota lawmaker is denying allegations of sexual assault.
State Rep. Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) is accused of inappropriately touching a woman.
The seven-term lawmaker suffers from multiple sclerosis and has difficulty standing and walking.
At the Capitol, he’s an advocate for people with disabilities, as well as immigrants, both legal and illegal.
Police say a 23-year old woman from Bemidji filed a police report on April 20, alleging Hamilton touched her without consent.
The woman says he “stroked her hair, traced her ear with his finger, kissed her cheek, held her hands and hugged her.”
Police say there’s not enough evidence to file charges.
In a written statement, Hamilton said he “deeply regrets the effect his actions had” on the woman.
He added: “I intended to offer comfort and compassion to a person who was going through a difficult time.”
Coincidentally, the charges against Hamilton come on the first day of a new sexual harassment policy in the House.
Officials at the Minnesota House are now investigating the allegations, which Hamilton self-reported.
The House Speaker also suspended him as chair of the Agriculture Finance Committee.
At the Capitol, Hamilton steadfastly refused to answer reporter questions outside his office.
“On the advice of counsel I have already issued my statement and there will be no further comment,” he said.
Hamilton strongly denies allegations of sexual assault, and says he has not been contacted by police.