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Sen. Schoen to resign amid sexual harassment allegations

Sen. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, will resign Wednesday amid sexual harassment allegations, his attorney said. Forum News Service file photo

Under fire for allegations of sexual harassment, state Sen. Dan Schoen will resign Wednesday, his attorney said.

Since allegations surfaced against Schoen two weeks ago, the St. Paul Park Democrat and Cottage Grove police officer has been under intense pressure to resign.

Multiple women have accused Schoen of sexually inappropriate conduct, including unwanted sexual advances, squeezing the buttocks of a candidate, and sending a picture of a man’s genitals via Snapchat.

“He’s resigning,” Paul Rogosheske, Schoen’s attorney, said Tuesday afternoon. “He can’t serve his district. How can he get anything done when people don’t believe you and you’re a pariah?”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, Gov. Mark Dayton, and a host of other Democrats, as well as Republicans, have been calling for Schoen’s resignation since shortly after the allegations were first reported by MinnPost.

Schoen originally told MinnPost the allegations were “either completely false or have been taken far out of context” but said nothing publicly since.

On Tuesday, Rogosheske said Schoen still maintains his innocence.

For example, of the SnapChat image he sent to Ellen Anderson, a staffer with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Senate Caucus, Rogosheske said this: “He meant it for somebody else. He hit the wrong button. It was meant for an intimate partner. It was a stupid mistake.”

The resignation decision followed a meeting with Bakk  that ended without any agreement, said an aide to Bakk. “There were no decisions made, no resignation agreement, no resolution,” said Alyssa Siems Roberson, a spokeswoman for Bakk.

Schoen has worked as a Cottage Grove police officer since 2001. Following the recent allegations, he was transferred from patrol duty to an administrative assignment.

Cottage Grove City Administrator Charlene Stevens had said the city would await completion of a state investigation into the allegations against Schoen before deciding whether to impose disciplinary actions or dismissal. Stevens said the city would pursue an internal affairs investigation after the state’s investigation is completed.

Schoen was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2012 and was re-elected to his House seat in 2014. He won an open Senate seat in 2016.

Schoen’s district includes south Washington County communities of St. Paul Park, Cottage Grove and Newport, as well as the Hastings area and part of South St. Paul.

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