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Amid sexual misconduct allegations, state Sen. Dan Schoen formally resigns, wants to stay a Cottage Grove cop

Dan Schoen

ST. PAUL — Dan Schoen is ready to turn in his Washington County lawmaker credentials, but not his gun and badge.

Faced with allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, Schoen, a Democratic state senator from St. Paul Park, has officially notified Gov. Mark Dayton he'll resign Dec. 15. The letter was delivered Monday, Dec. 4, to Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, the top Democrat in the Senate.

But Schoen, who is on the Cottage Grove police force, said he wants to remain a cop.

"It has been my honor and privilege to serve the constituents of my community for five years, I am proud to say that I was elected by a community of my peers to serve the greater public good, which I will continue to do as a peace officer," Schoen said in the two-sentence letter to Dayton dated Nov. 28.

Last month, several women came forward with allegations against Schoen. They range from squeezing the buttocks of a female candidate to sending a Snapchat photo of male genitalia to a female Senate staff member. Schoen has denied squeezing the woman's buttocks; the lewd image was intended for someone else, his attorney has said.

After the allegations first broke, the city of Cottage Grove placed Schoen on "administrative duties until the allegations have been investigated by the state." It's unclear if any investigation was actually opened, or if one will will continue. Schoen's attorney said he'll cooperate with any city investigation. Cottage Grove officials could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

Two lawmaker fall

Schoen is the second Minnesota lawmaker in a month to resign amid allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Longtime House member, Rep. Tony Cornish, a Republican from Vernon Center, announced his resignation last month.

Cornish was accused by a female lobbyist of unwelcome sexual advances, text messages asking for sex, and other tasteless and inappropriate conduct, while Minnesota Public Radio reported that interviews with more than two dozen legislators, staffers and a lobbyist found he blurred the lines between legislative and sexual pursuits.

Special elections Feb. 12

On Monday, according to the Associated Press, Gov. Mark Dayton said he'll likely hold special elections for the two vacant seats Feb. 12. The Legislature convenes Feb. 20.

A number of candidates from both parties quickly announced they would seek the seats, and local Democratic and Republican parties have begun endorsing candidates.

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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