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Secretary of State Tom Schelder, currently facing sexual harassment allegations, speaks during a press conference, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at his office in Baton Rouge, La.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican who is Louisiana's senior senator, has joined calls for fellow Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler to resign, amid allegations he sexually harassed an employee for years.

“Increasingly it appears the allegations against Secretary Schedler are true," Cassidy, of Baton Rouge, said in a statement to The Advocate Monday evening. "He should resign. No one should use their position to coerce another into a relationship.”

Cassidy joins a growing chorus of Republicans and Democrats, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, to urge Schedler to step down from office because of the allegations first revealed in a lawsuit in February. Schedler has vowed to fight the lawsuit and denied wrongdoing.

U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, also a Republican, last week called on Schedler to resign, after after The Advocate published sexually suggestive emails and messages that were part of Schedler's on-the-clock exchanges with Dawn Ross, a longtime employee who filed the lawsuit.

“Secretary Schedler has claimed the truth about the sexual harassment allegations against him by his employee ‘can be found somewhere in the middle.’ The emails published (Friday) tell a different story. They show that he crossed the line and abused his position,” Kennedy said in the statement last week. “It saddens me to say this, but Tom needs to resign. There is no place in Louisiana for sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Schedler, 68, has claimed he had a "consensual sexual relationship" with Ross — an assertion the woman denies. He has refused to step down in the wake of the allegations but has said he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2019.


Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.