Kentucky Lawmaker in Sexual Misconduct Deal Won't Run in '18
A Kentucky lawmaker who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement along with three fellow Republican legislators said Friday that he won't seek re-election in 2018.
According to the Bowling Green Daily News , Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green didn't mention the settlement in his announcement and didn't return the newspaper's phone calls about the decision Friday.
"Serving the people of Butler and Warren Counties has been a great honor," DeCesare said in the statement. "However, it is time for me to focus on other opportunities."
DeCesare was one of four state lawmakers involved in a sexual harassment settlement with a former House Republican Caucus staffer.
The others are former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, who has since resigned the leadership post, and Reps. Brian Linder and Michael Meredith. DeCesare, Linder and Meredith were stripped of legislative committee chairmanships.
Republican Gov. Matt Bevin has called for the four lawmakers to resign, but party leaders voted against echoing that call earlier this month. Bevin said the move "speaks to the fact that we've got real problems."
Hoover has denied sexual harassment but said he sent inappropriate but consensual text messages. Linder has publicly apologized.
DeCesare has declined to comment, but told a Bowling Green TV station he has "done nothing to be ashamed of." Meredith has not commented.
Acting House Speaker David Osborne has asked the Legislative Ethics Commission to use its subpoena power to get a copy of the settlement and to find out whether any part of it was paid for by political donors or lobbyists.
Additionally on Friday, Warren County Republican Party Chairman David Graham announced he will run for the seat that DeCesare is leaving. Joey Franzell, twice an unsuccessful candidate for Butler County judge-executive, had already filed to run for DeCesare's district.