KEYC - Cornish Stripped of Chair Position as Harassment Investigation C

Cornish Stripped of Chair Position as Harassment Investigation Continues

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State Representative Tony Cornish has been suspended as chair of the Public Safety Committee amid sexual harassment allegations.

Cornish is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to one woman and allegedly getting physical with another.

An anonymous accuser said, while in Cornish's office to discuss a bill, he asked her to stay and then asked her to look down, allegedly making a reference to his anatomy.

She said in a separate incident Cornish pushed her against his office wall and tried to kiss her. She said she pushed him away and left.

Cornish denies wrongdoing and says he intends to fight the accusations.

"Well my message is usually I talk blunt. This is   a damned lie. It's a 10–year–old accusation without any evidence that I did something that just isn't my style in my room. There's no way in God's green earth that that happened," said Cornish. 

In a statement last night, House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the allegations made against Cornish are quote "extremely troubling."

He went on to announce his suspension from Public Safety Committee. "I am suspending his chairmanship and have instructed the House's non–partisan HR department to begin their complaint process," said Daudt. 

Apple Valley Rep. Erin Maye Quade accused Cornish of inappropriate text messages. 

"Tony Cornish is one that is widely known it's again the worst kept secrets. Staffers have stories, legislatures have stories, lobbyists have stories," said Maye Quade. 

Maye Quade said her story began when she walked onto the house floor in May. When she saw Cornish staring at her she waved then he sent her a text message. 

Cornish said that string of text messages is not an accurate representation of their conversation.

"I know what sexual harassment is and I didn't consider this any part of it as you can see as you can see in the text ring when we joked back and forth," said Cornish. 

The allegations against Cornish occurred as several of Minnesota's top Democrats are calling on state Sen. Dan Schoen to resign after accusations that he sexually harassed women.

Schoen, a Democrat from St. Paul Park says those allegations are false.