Hawaiian state lawmaker to resign after sexual harassment investigation

Hawaiian state lawmaker to resign after sexual harassment investigation
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Hawaiian state Rep. Joseph Souki (D) is set to resign following an investigation into allegations of unwanted sexual behavior toward multiple women, according to The Associated Press

Souki, a former speaker of the state House of Representatives, must resign by March 30 and will not be allowed to seek elected office for another two years, according to a settlement announced Wednesday by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. 

The commission's investigation looked into allegations against Souki of unwanted kissing and physical contact. The probe was triggered by a sexual harassment complaint against Souki by the state's former Human Services Department director. 

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The resignation of Souki, 84, is the latest in a string of at least 23 state legislators who have stepped down over sexual misconduct allegations in recent months, according to the AP, as the "Me Too" and "Time's Up" movements have seen women nationwide speak out against sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace.

In his public apology, as required by the settlement, Souki admitted he "touched and kissed more than one woman in ways that were inappropriate and unwelcome," and made said he made inappropriate "sexual comments" toward multiple women.

The resignation comes as many high-profile men in politics, entertainment, journalism and business have lost their jobs or been ousted from office following sexual harassment accusations.