Rep. Linder “deeply sorry” as he confirms his role in harassment settlement; Rep. DeCesare says he’s “done nothing to be ashamed of”

11/09/2017 08:40 AM

Two state representatives named as part of a sexual harassment settlement that forced Rep. Jeff Hoover to step down as speaker of the House of Representatives have issued their first public comments on the matter.

Rep. Brian Linder, a Dry Ridge Republican and co-chairman of the Public Pension Oversight Board, told the Grant County News Wednesday that he signed the settlement agreement involving allegations of sexual harassment raised by a House GOP staffer following mediation.

“My motivation for signing the agreement was to protect the privacy of my family, and ironically, that decision has put me in a place where I cannot comment on this entire situation in the manner that would clarify many of the misconceptions,” Linder said in a statement to the newspaper.

“A portion of that agreement clearly expresses that all parties admit no wrongdoing. I humbly confess that I have made some mistakes. Some have sensationalized my lack of comment or defense as a cover up, however, what they are not clearly reporting is that our agreement included a confidentiality clause to protect the privacy of all parties involved. Due to this clause, I had to get approval from all legal representatives involved before issuing a public statement.”

Linder apologized to his family, his constituents and the entire state of Kentucky for his “actions that have led to this grief and embarrassment.”

“It has been very disheartening to see people take this private matter and use it as a means to jockey for political gain at the expense of others and their families,” he said. “I have been asked by many colleagues and friends to not make any rash decisions about a resignation. My wife has asked me to share with you that she supports my fulfillment of this term if I choose to do so. We are taking some time to process the events of the last few days and we deeply appreciate those who have reached out to us in concern and support. I humbly ask for your forgiveness and prayers for wisdom and healing for my family as we move forward.”

Linder has been named among other lawmakers – Hoover and Republican Reps. Jim DeCesare and Michael Meredith – who signed the settlement agreement.

In an emotional news conference Sunday, Hoover stepped down as House speaker but said he would not resign his seat in the lower chamber.

House Republicans have launched an independent investigation into the situation, suspending the rank-and-file members as committee chairmen until the inquiry is complete. Leaders announced Tuesday that the law firm Middleton Reutlinger would conduct the investigation.

DeCesare declined to comment when asked about the matter by Bowling Green news station WBKO but said he supported the independent investigation.

“I can say I’ve done nothing to be ashamed of, and welcome the independent investigation and its findings,” DeCesare, a Bowling Green Republican who chairs the House Economic Development and Workforce Investment Committee, told the station.

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