ST. PAUL, Minn. - Several of Minnesota's top Democrats, including Governor Mark Dayton, are calling on Sen. Dan Schoen to resign after accusations he sexually harassed women in state politics.
Schoen is a Democrat from Cottage Grove. Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, Rep. Erin Murphy and state Auditor Rebecca Otto all issued statements Wednesday night calling for Schoen to resign.
“These disturbing allegations make clear that no workplace, including Minnesota’s State Capitol, is immune to sexual harassment. The DFL stands strongly with the women who bravely shared their difficult stories, and all others who may have been harassed by Senator Dan Schoen. There is no room in our party for sexual harassment. The DFL calls for Senator Schoen’s immediate resignation.”
“The reported acts of harassment from Senator Schoen are totally unacceptable and unbefitting of the office in which he serves. I join Senator Bakk and Members of the Senate DFL Caucus, who have called for Senator Schoen’s immediate resignation. This behavior cannot be tolerated in Minnesota's workplaces or in our communities,” Gov. Dayton said in a statement Thursday.
The calls for his resignation followed a report by MinnPost that Schoen had engaged in behavior ranging from unwanted attention to women to physically grabbing a woman from behind. One woman, Lindsey Port, told MinnPost that Schoen told her she had a good body for door-knocking when she was running for the Legislature in 2015, and later grabbed her behind.
"The amount of women who reached out to me to share their own stories of harassment in politics in Minnesota -- I’ve heard from well over a dozen women about their experiences. From sitting legislator to lobbyists, to staffers to campaign workers, to volunteers. This is not limited to one situation, this is something we have to deal with on a much wider basis," Potter told KARE 11 Thursday evening.
"A lot of the women I’ve spoken to haven’t been willing to talk about who their perpetrators because they are afraid of retaliation," Potter added. "I think one of the things that we need to do is make sure we have a clear path where victims feel they can share their stories without being under attack themselves. Where we have a way that we can file complaints and check out complaints."
Schoen says the allegations are false.
The 42-year-old Schoen is also a police officer. He served two House terms before winning his Senate seat last year.
The City of Cottage Grove says it is not aware of any misconduct by Schoen in his role as a police officer, but due to the allegations made against him as a State Senator, the city has elected to assign him to administrative duties until the allegations have been investigated by the State.
"At the completion of the State investigation the Cottage Grove Police Department will investigate these allegations, as they would any other officer off-duty conduct, to determine if any city policy violation has occurred, which is standard procedure for the department," The city said in a statement.