Warren County state legislators removed from leadership roles

Rep. Jim DeCesare (R) represents Warren County. 

Andrew Henderson

Two Warren County state legislators have been removed from their committee chairmanships pending an investigation into sexual harassment, according to a statement from Republican House leadership. 

{{tncms-inline account=”Joe Sonka 😐” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">And here's a statement from the remaining GOP leadership in the state House: <a href="https://t.co/1itW4TpIKL">pic.twitter.com/1itW4TpIKL</a></p>— Joe Sonka 😐 (@joesonka) <a href="https://twitter.com/joesonka/status/927283924153372673?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 5, 2017</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/joesonka/status/927283924153372673″ type=”twitter”}}

Representative Jim DeCesare (R) of Bowling Green and Representative Michael Meredith (R) of Oakland are allegedly parties to a lawsuit former Kentucky Speaker of the House Jeff Hoover settled last week. 

“This leadership team is removing implicated committee chairmen from their roles, pending the outcome of an investigation,” the statement reads. “We will assess their futures when the results of the investigation are known.”

DeCesare was the co-chair of the House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee. Meredith was the co-chair of the Local Government committee.

The College Heights Herald reached out to DeCesare and Meredith at the numbers listed on their Kentucky Legislature webpages, but have yet to hear back.

The statement also says several members of House leadership will meet with legal counsel tomorrow to “access options regarding the staff members mentioned in the reports.”

“We are committed to treating everyone fairly while respect the need for the investigation to remain as independent as possible.” 

At a press conference earlier today, Hoover announced his resignation as Speaker of the House, but did not resign from his seat in the House.

“The decision today is what is best for Kentucky and what is best for the House of Representatives that I love,” Hoover said.

At a press conference Saturday afternoon, Gov. Matt Bevin called for the immediate resignation of lawmakers who have settled sexual harassment cases, or are “trying to hide this type of behavior.” 

“These alleged actions, which haven’t been denied, are reprehensible, indefensible and unacceptable,” Bevin said. “Any elected official or state employee who has settled a sexual harassment claim should resign immediately. The people of Kentucky deserve better. We appropriately demand a high level of integrity from our leaders, and will tolerate nothing less in our state.”

An anonymously sourced report by the Louisville Courier-Journal published Wednesday said Hoover “reached a confidential settlement over sexual harassment allegations by a woman who works on his legislative staff.” 

The law firm representing the woman in the settlement has now publicly confirmed the case was settled in secret, according to the Courier-Journal

Representative Brian Linder (R) of Dry Ridge and Ginger Wills, Hoover’s chief of staff, are also allegedly parties to the settlement, per the Courier-Journal

The Herald will update this story as more information becomes available. News editor Monica Kast contributed to this report.