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Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover Steps Down From Leadership Po - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover Steps Down From Leadership Post, To Keep Seat

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) - Kentucky Rep. Jeff Hoover announced Sunday afternoon he is resigning his leadership position as House speaker amid accusations he secretly settled a sexual harassment case involving a member of his legislative staff.

An emotional Hoover announced the decision during a news conference at the State Capitol. While stepping away from leadership duties, Hoover said he will retain his House seat.

Hoover said he was worried the allegations against him could be too much of a distraction from legislative work.

Hoover acknowledged he had engaged in inappropriate behavior but says he never engaged in sexual harassment. He asked for forgiveness, and thanked his family and friends for their support.

The GOP is investigating a report that claims Hoover secretly settled a sexual harassment allegation with a former employee outside of court.

Just one day earlier, Gov. Matt Bevin called for the resignation of anyone involved in sexual harassment allegations and a possible cover-up. Shortly after Bevin's remarks on Saturday Hoover released a statement saying he would not step down and that was disappointed that the governor never reached out to him to hear his side of the story.

Hoover said Sunday his resignation as House Speaker is effective immediately, but that he would continue to serve as a state representative.

House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne will now take over Hoover's duties. Osborne released a statement: 

"I take very seriously my obligation as a Constitutional Officer of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and wish to assure the Members of the House and the citizens of Kentucky that the House will continue to function and do the people’s business," Osborne said. "We cannot be distracted from our work, even as an investigation into the troubling reports continues. I will continue to work closely with Governor Bevin and Senate President Stivers as we seek a solution to our pension crisis."

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