Report: House Speaker Jeff Hoover reaches settlement over sexual harassment claim

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover is accused of sexually harassing a woman on his legislative staff, according to a report from the Courier-Journal. The paper reports he's also reached a confidential settlement with that woman.

The paper has copies of sexually suggestive text messages exchanged between Speaker Hoover and an unidentified woman that date back to March of last year.

The woman told the Courier-Journal that she went along with the harassment at first because another staffer told her she needed to keep Hoover happy to advance her career.

Speaker Hoover reached a confidential settlement with the victim last week, according to the paper.

Tres Watson, Communications Director for the Republican Party of Kentucky, said "While we condemn sexual harassment in any form, current reports are based on nothing more than anonymous sources and 3rd hand copies of text messages. Consequently, we don’t feel it would be appropriate to comment any further at this time."

Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Director Mary Nishimuta issued a statement.

“Sexual harassment is handled very seriously in the workplace, and the speaker’s office in our statehouse should operate on a higher standard,” Nishimuta said. “This isn’t a political issue but a moral one. We can’t expect to work toward a better future for our state if misogyny is not just accepted but practiced by our lawmakers.”

During a taping of Kentucky Newsmakers, Minority Floor leader, Rocky Adkins (D-99th District) said he only knew what was being reported in the Courier-Journal, and couldn't comment on the specific situation. He did however, speak more generally about sexual harassment in the workplace.

"What I will say is there have been positive steps made both in the public and private sectors to give victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault the avenues they need to report incidents that may happen in the workforce," Adkins said.

You can read the Courier-Journal's original report here.



 
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