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Roseburg state Sen. Jeff Kruse defiant, absent in face of calls for his resignation

Oregon state Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg. (KATU File Photo)

An Oregon state lawmaker accused of groping women at the Capitol has said he won't resign, despite calls from the governor and others that he leave the Legislature.

Sen. Jeff Kruse, a Republican from Roseburg, told his hometown newspaper The News-Review on Wednesday that he will not step down.

RELATED | Rep. Hayden calls on fellow Oregon GOP lawmaker Sen. Kruse to step down

Kruse was absent from the Senate floor as it met, and no one was in his office.

Kruse didn't immediately return an email from The Associated Press late Tuesday seeking comment.

An official investigative report released Tuesday said he had subjected two female senators to unwanted touching and groped or gave lingering hugs to many women working at the Capitol.

Gov. Kate Brown and House Speaker Tina Kotek have called on Kruse to resign.

He said he has significant issues with the report and will respond to it.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the findings of Dian Rubanoff, the investigator and an employment law attorney, were released Tuesday.

Two Democratic Oregon senators publicly accused Kruse last fall of sexual misconduct, saying he subjected them to unwanted touching and inappropriate close contact.

A formal complaint filed by Sen. Sara Gelser in November triggered a requirement that a legislative committee arrange for an outside investigation of her claims.

Tuesday's report is scheduled for consideration by the Senate Conduct Committee Feb. 22.

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