Oregon Senate passes resolution supporting sexual violence survivors

Oregon State Capitol. (KATU Photo)

The Oregon Senate unanimously passed a resolution Thursday declaring support for sexual violence survivors.

The vote came a week after a major sexual harassment settlement was announced, awarding eight women a combined $1.1 million.

The issue of a hostile workplace at the Capitol came to light after Sen. Sara Gelser accused former Sen. Jeff Kruse of harassment. He later resigned.

"We have women who have left this building because people won’t hire them anymore because they complained," Gelser said on the Senate floor Thursday. "People that have left this building because they don’t feel safe here and have moved to a different state. We have had women who have left because they no longer want to accept being touched without their consent as a condition of employment, and yet every person in power still has their job."

Senate President Peter Courtney returned from medical leave for the vote. He has been criticized for how he handled harassment claims.

"Sen. Gelser, I publicly apologize to any all and all survivors that have experienced any form of harassment, sexual harassment, workplace harassment, in the state Capitol," he said. "We must do better, I must do better, and that is why I made sure today to come here to vote yes on this."

As part of the settlement, the Legislature must implement a new reporting system for complaints of workplace harassment.

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