Senator punished over alleged inappropriate touching

Jeff Kruse denies the behavior

Sens. Jeff Kruse, center, R-Roseburg, and Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene listen to testimony from Leland Berger, left, a marijuana legalization advocate, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Salem, Ore. The committee heard testimony focused on whether Oregon communities should be allowed to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)
Sens. Jeff Kruse, center, R-Roseburg, and Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene listen to testimony from Leland Berger, left, a marijuana legalization advocate, at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 in Salem, Ore. The committee heard testimony focused on whether Oregon communities should be allowed to ban medical marijuana dispensaries. (AP Photo/Chad Garland)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – An Oregon state senator has been stripped of his committee assignments because of “ongoing workplace issues,” days after a senate colleague said she’s been inappropriately touched by at least one member of the chamber.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Senate President Peter Courtney took the action Friday against Republican Sen. Jeff Kruse, discipline Courtney described as “unprecedented.” The move takes away Kruse’s ability to introduce and influence legislation.

The sanctions come days after Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser of Corvallis posted on Twitter that she had been subject to inappropriate touching by at least one Senate Republican.

When the newspaper asked Courtney whether Kruse was disciplined for inappropriate touching, Courtney said “the personnel issues have been identified in this conversation.”

Kruse said in an email, “The inappropriate behavior I completely categorically deny.”