sexual harassment

A woman who accused former House Speaker Jeff Hoover of sexually harassing her is fighting the Republican lawmaker’s claim that she improperly divulged details of a secret non-disclosure settlement she made with him and four others.

Hoover and two other Republican lawmakers filed a lawsuit against the former staffer in Fayette County Circuit Court earlier this year, saying that Marissa Espinosa violated the confidentiality clause in their $110,000 settlement shortly after they signed it on Oct 25, 2017.

The Kentucky House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that would make sexual harassment an offense under the ethics code for state lawmakers. The bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed by the governor to become law.

A former state legislator told the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting on Monday that she never witnessed inappropriate behavior by Rep. Jeff Hoover, as his accuser has claimed.

In a demand letter, and later during a sworn deposition, a former House staffer said then-Rep. Jill York of Grayson witnessed Hoover and the woman interact during the 2016 legislative session and complained about it to House Republican Communications Director Daisy Olivo.

A bill that would create an explicit ban on lawmakers sexually harassing their employees and colleagues is advancing in the Kentucky legislature.

The legislature’s ethics code doesn’t currently prohibit sexual harassment, though lawmakers have been punished for harassing staffers under a rule that forbids misuse of their official positions.

But on Thursday, the House State Government Committee unanimously passed House Bill 60, which would make sexual harassment an offense in the legislative ethics code and create a new reporting process.

State Rep. Jeff Hoover and two other Republican lawmakers are suing a former staffer for allegedly violating a confidentiality agreement regarding her allegations of sexual harassment.

State Rep. Jeff Hoover and two others are suing a former staffer for allegedly violating a confidentiality agreement regarding her allegations of sexual harassment.

Hoover, Rep. Michael Meredith of Oakland and former Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green filed the suit in Fayette Circuit Court on Wednesday, saying that the woman violated the confidentiality agreement shortly after they reached a $110,000 settlement with her, signed on Oct 25, 2017.

The suit alleges that “within minutes of reaching a settlement and executing the settlement agreement,” the then-staffer met her supervisor, Daisy Olivo, and disclosed the settlement.

cincinnati edition
Jim Nolan / WVXU

According to testimony by a former staffer for the Kentucky House Republican caucus, Republican Kentucky Representative Jeff Hoover sexually assaulted her more than 50 times during her employment. The Kentucky Democratic Party is calling for Hoover and another Republican representative, Michael Meredith, to resign. The staffer alleges Meredith screamed vulgar comments at her.

When the woman who would become known as Jane Doe started working for the Kentucky House Republican caucus in 2015, she remembers a senior staffer saying her responsibility was “to keep Jeff Hoover happy.”

At the time, the woman was 21. Ky. Representative Jeff Hoover of Jamestown was the leader of the Republican minority in the state House of Representatives. Within two years, Hoover would become the first Republican speaker of the House in nearly a century.


A Democratic state representative has filed legislation that would create an explicit ban on sexual harassment in the statehouse and a process to handle complaints.

A bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations in Ohio for criminal and civil case involving rape and sexual abuse is getting a little help from a nationally known attorney. The bill would not affect past victims of sexual abuse, like those who have filed suit against Ohio State University but would affect cases after it passes…..if it passes.  

jeff hoover
Gage Skidmor / Wikimedia Commons

A lawyer for former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and two other Republican lawmakers made the case on Wednesday for sealing a former staffer’s testimony that she was sexually assaulted and harassed by the men.

Former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and two other Republican state lawmakers are trying to prevent the public release of parts of a deposition taken from a former staffer who accused them of sexually harassing her. The deposition is part of a whistleblower lawsuit filed by another staffer who says she was retaliated against for reporting harassment.

The three men — as well as one other representative who has not asked to intervene in the case — admitted to paying Jane Doe $110,000 last year in an out-of-court settlement.

Kentucky will pay four women a total of $1.5 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit stemming from their time working as prison guards at Little Sandy Correctional Complex in northeastern Kentucky.

Ohio State University officials say the federal office that oversees enforcement of Title IX has opened an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against a now-dead former Ohio State doctor.

A statement from a university spokesperson says the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has opened an investigation based on the allegations against Richard Strauss made by former Ohio State students.

Wikimedia Commons

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet argued in Franklin Circuit Court Wednesday that protecting the identity of employees accused of — but not proven to have committed — sexual harassment is a “common sense” decision.

Kentucky’s Legislative Ethics Commission is asking state lawmakers to update an existing law to specifically prohibit workplace sexual harassment by lawmakers against their staff. 

The legislative ethics law currently doesn’t include such language.  The ethics panel has investigated such cases in the past, mostly recently involving former House Speaker Jeff Hoover, but on the grounds of misuse of public office. 

Legislative Ethics Commission Director John Schaaf told WKU Public Radio that updating the law would remove any questions about whether the panel has jurisdiction to investigate sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers.

louisa reckman queen city radio
Courtesy Louisa Reckman

In 2016, reports surfaced of women being drugged at bars near local universities. Meanwhile, another bar was getting negative attention on social media for hiring bartenders with a history of sexual assault. To Maria Cole and Kendra Massey, that meant it was time to take a nationwide program and bring it local.

William Preucil has resigned his post as Distinguished Professor of Violin at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Organizations Offer Support To Abuse Victims

Jul 5, 2018
Health.mil

The Bureau of Justice Statistics' recent National Crime Victimization Survey estimates that people in the U.S. experienced more than 320,000 incidents of rape and sexual assault in 2016. The majority of incidents of abuse are reported by women, but men are also victims, and research suggests men face an even greater stigma in reporting sexual assault than women.

Wikimedia Commons

The #MeToo movement is giving more people the courage to come forward with allegations of sexual harassment. Now a prominent local civil rights attorney is speaking out about confidential settlements. Attorney Al Gerhardstein has worked with many clients who settled sexual harassment cases, against powerful individuals, out of court. According to Gerhardstein these confidentiality agreements are "eroding the integrity of our judicial system."

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