Sen. Dan Schoen resigns amid sexual harassment allegations


Sen. Dan Schoen

In a Nov. 21 press conference, Paul Rogosheske, an attorney for Dan Schoen, announced the DFL senator was resigning from the Minnesota Legislature effective Dec. 15.

The announcement came after multiple woman accused Schoen of sexual harassment, accusations that first came to light in a Nov. 8 MinnPost article. 

Schoen is senator for District 54, which includes part of South St. Paul. He is a Cottage Grove police officer.

Rogosheske said in the press conference he wanted to address how the allegations, which first surfaced in September of this year, came about.

Schoen was considering running for state auditor, and Rogosheske said he started getting statements from people that said if he was going to run “there would be sexual allegations made.”

“Dan denied these allegations and said ‘I did not sexually harass either one of these women,’” Rogosheske said. 

The alleged sexual harassment dates back to 2015. Rep. Erin Maye Quade, a DFLer who represents District 57A, accused Schoen of making repeated unwanted advances. Rogosheske contends Maye Quade started the correspondence between the two, when she reached out to Schoen for campaign help and that a particular message from Schoen to Maye Quade was sent in error.

Rogosheske said evidence corroborates Schoen’s version of events.

Lindsey Port, a small business owner who was a 2015 DFL legislative candidate, accused Schoen of commenting about her body and grabbing her while at a rally in August 2015.

Rogosheske said there are people who were at the rally who dispute Port’s claims, as well as photos of Port with her arm around Schoen, in a friendly manner.

A third woman alleges Schoen sent her a photo of male genitalia. Rogosheske said Schoen did send the photo, but it was meant for someone else.

“Dan does this a lot. He pushes the wrong button and it goes to the wrong people,” Rogosheske said, adding the Snapchat was meant for an intimate partner of Schoen’s.

Rogosheske said he thinks Schoen is resigning due to the public not trusting or believing him, making it tough for him to get anything done.

Rogosheske read part of a letter from Schoen that stated he is hurt by the allegations, and it was never his intention to make an inappropriate advance on anyone. 

After the allegations were made against Schoen, a chorus of calls came from both the House and Senate for Schoen to resign immediately.

A special election will be held in January 2018 to fill the District 54 seat. 

Leilani Holmstadt, the Republican who ran against Schoen last year and won nearly 47 percent of the vote, announced Nov. 29 she will be running for the seat.

 

—Hannah Burlingame

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