All Ohio state senators must undergo sexual harassment training after one state senator resigned for allegedly repeatedly asking a female employee for hugs, according to a Wednesday announcement.
Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof made the decision for mandatory training in light of allegations against Sen. Cliff Hite, who recently stepped down for reportedly harassing a female staffer, reports Cleveland.com.
Obhof, addressing reporters Wednesday, said the mandatory sexual harassment training would serve as a way to prevent anything from happening. While he doesn’t think that there is rampant harassment in the senate, it’s better to explicitly lay out what is acceptable behavior and what is not, he said.
“I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he told media. “I think the message should be a pretty clear one, which is that any inappropriate activity in the Senate isn’t tolerated.”
Hite resigned after he reportedly harassed a female state worker by asking her for hugs and speaking to her in a way a married man should not.
“I’m not proud of recent inappropriate conversations that I had with a state employee who did not work for me but worked in a nearby state office. After we met, I sometimes asked her for hugs and talked with her in a way that was inappropriate for a married man, father, grandfather like myself,” the statement read. “Beyond those hugs, there was no inappropriate physical contact. ”
Obhof said he discussed Hite’s options with him and told him it was probably best to resign.
“Whether it was today or had been a month ago or a year ago I think that we recognize that when activity is inappropriate, it needs to be dealt with in a timely and appropriate fashion,” Obhof said.
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