Kentucky Senate Democrats are calling for the resignation of Sen. Julian Carroll after news reports that he allegedly groped and asked a man for sex more than a decade ago.
Carroll, an 86-year-old Democrat, served as governor of Kentucky from 1974 to 1979 and has denied the allegations.
In a TV report by Spectrum News Pure Politics, a man alleges that Carroll inappropriately groped him in 2005 and asked him for oral sex.
Spectrum also says Kentucky State Police investigated the matter at the time, but prosecutors decided not to pursue the case.
In a statement, the Kentucky Senate Democratic Caucus said they have removed Carroll from his leadership position and called for him to step down from his seat.
“In light of recent media reports, the Senate Democratic Caucus has voted to remove Senator Carroll from his leadership position as minority whip,” the statement said. “The Senate Democratic Caucus calls on Senator Carroll to resign his Kentucky State Senate seat, immediately.”
Both state political parties have expressed concern about the allegations.
“We are terribly concerned by the events described in the Pure Politics piece concerning Sen. Carroll,” said Kentucky Democratic Party spokesman Brad Bowman. “While we acknowledge and greatly appreciate Sen. Carroll’s life-long career of public service, we cannot overlook the severity of these allegations and take them seriously.”
Tres Watson, spokesman for the Republican Party of Kentucky, called the allegations “disturbing” and called for an investigation.
“While it is wrong for any individual to try and coerce another person into a sexual act, regardless of gender, what is most concerning about this allegation is that one of Frankfort’s most powerful politicians appears to have used his influence to alter an investigation,” Watson said.
“Also, there is a question whether those affiliated with him may have used their influence to alter the course of the investigation.”
Carroll could not immediately be reached for a comment on Sunday, but in the Spectrum report denied the allegations, calling them “ridiculous.”
Carroll has had a long career in Kentucky politics. He served five terms in the state House of Representatives for a district surrounding Paducah starting in 1962, eventually being promoted to House Speaker from 1968 to 1970.
He served as governor from 1974 to 1979 and stayed in Frankfort afterwards to practice law.
Carroll left office under a cloud of scandal after a federal investigation into an insurance kickback scheme during his administration and that of his predecessor, Democratic Gov. Wendell Ford.
Carroll invoked the Fifth Amendment when a federal grand jury called him to testify about the scheme in 1980, but the Justice Department rejected a recommendation to indict him.
He was first elected to the state Senate in 2004 and ran unopposed for his fourth term during last year’s election.