Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite repeatedly sought sex from legislative employee despite refusals, memo says

COLUMBUS - Former Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite spent two months pleading with a female legislative employee to have sex with him despite her repeated refusals, according to a memo released Friday. 

Hite, 63, told the woman that he had an affair before, he had a condo and no one would ever know, according to an Oct. 19 memo from her employer that The Enquirer obtained through a records' request. Hite, a Republican from Findlay, tried to convince her to have sex with him for more than an hour. Hite shared intimate details of his sex life with his wife.

"I'm a grown man with needs," Hite told the woman. Those needs included oral sex, according to the allegations. The woman refused eight or nine times.

Hite first met the woman, who works for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse in August – several weeks before he first solicited her for sex.

One week later, Hite complimented her. "Nice outfit. It's nice to see you. What was your name again?" Shortly after, he requested to be her friend on Facebook. Soon, he was sending her messages through Facebook. "Did you miss me?" The woman blocked his communication.

The next day, Hite first asked her to have sex. He told her about the condo.

"He told her that he couldn't stop thinking about her and he needed a (expletive) buddy," according to the memo.

She refused repeatedly, and he eventually left.

"You know where to find me. You'll change your mind," said Hite, according to the memo.

Through the end of August and early September, Hite would come to her office repeatedly to ask if she had changed her mind. He hugged her. He invited her to a reception. The woman missed two days of work during this time because of the stress. She was unable to eat or sleep, according to the memo.

Once, Hite asked if she liked sex. The woman felt obligated to joke back, "Of course. Who doesn't?" She told her employer, according to the memo, that she knew the conversation was out of line, but he was a state senator. She didn't want to embarrass him.

On Oct. 10, Hite again asked the woman to have sex with him then followed her through the parking lot. The woman broke away when she met up with a colleague. But Hite was waiting for her in his convertible. He told her to get into the car but she refused.

The next morning, Hite came to her office with two bouquets of flowers and a note. "Thanks for all you do! Today is 'I work in a Cave Day.' Oh, and if you like my convertible you'll like me too. 101"

The number was Hite's office. He reportedly told her, "Let's just try it a few times. We can stop if it doesn't work out."

The woman filed a complaint that day. Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, was informed of the allegations against Hite that same day. Obhof called a meeting with Hite and "strongly suggested" that the senator resign.

Hite resigned five days later. He issued a statement apologizing for the sexual harassment.

"I sometimes asked her for hugs and talked with her in a way that was not appropriate for a married man, father and grandfather like myself," Hite wrote.

Hite was first appointed to the Ohio Senate in 2011 to represent several counties in northwest Ohio. Before that, he worked as a teacher and football coach. He played football at the University of Kentucky.

Following Hite's resignation, Obhof said the Senate would conduct training on how to avoid sexual harassment. The allegations against Hite come at a time of heightened attention on sexual assault and harassment. Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of years of sexual misconduct.

Cincinnati Enquirer


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