Questions continue to surround the actions of Oregon state Sen. Jeff Kruse in a YouTube video that shows the embattled Republican from Roseburg engaged in conversation with a topless woman.
Kruse — accused last month of inappropriate behavior toward a female member of the State Senate — had told The News-Review that he knew nothing about the video until police contacted him, and that he had been having a conversation with a woman he had met through a dating website. But he told police he had been investigating possible video scam operations, and that he had pretended to masturbate during the video.
It was Betsy Imholt, chief of staff to State Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem, who contacted police about the video, Oregon State Police records show.
The records, obtained Thursday morning by The News-Review, also show Kruse gave a different explanation to police than he did to the news media about the events that led to the video being posted online.
Police records indicate Kruse — whose district includes a portion of northwest Jackson County — was interviewed Oct. 25 after police received a tip from Imholt, who alleged she was concerned because the caption under the video includes a reference to 9-year-old girls, and because she thought Kruse might be a victim of a crime.
Police found no evidence 9-year-old girls had been involved in or seen the video; however, they investigated the incident as a possible crime against Kruse. If the video was recorded without his knowledge, he could be the victim of the crime of Unlawful Dissemination of an Intimate Image, police said.
The video was pixelated and grainy, police observed, but it clearly showed Kruse, and that he was in his living room, smoking and that he removed his shirt.
“In the video, his right arm appears to vacillate in a manner consistent with masturbation,” police observed.
A blonde adult woman can be seen topless in the corner of the video.
Kruse told police that “some time ago,” he became aware of “potential fraud and deception occurring on the internet against individuals in his district.”
Kruse said he “was told people were being targeted by individuals who were trolling on internet dating sites, faking relationships with people and then attempting to bilk money out of them by extortion or some other false statement.”
Kruse said he undertook an investigation on his own in order to “uncover the scope of the problem and work on legislative solutions.”
Kruse told police he communicated on Skype and Hangout with people he connected to via dating websites. He used his real name.
He told police a video had been sent to him, with a threat that it would be sent to his children. He said he wanted to send the information to the Department of Justice, but he learned that the suspects were not in Oregon, so little could be done to apprehend them.
Kruse told police it was possible Sabine Ravet, the name listed under the video, was the person he spoke to, but he wasn’t sure. He said he had spoken to several people. He said “Sabine Ravet” threatened to send the video to his senate colleagues. He didn’t pay, he said.
Kruse told police he was acting during the video.
“He said he was not masturbating, only pretending to masturbate in order to see what would happen later on,” the police report said.
Kruse said he engaged in similar conversations a dozen or more times.
“He said he kind of got sucked into it because of the cleverness of the criminals,” the report said.
He also told police he used his real name and contact information on the dating sites because he was seeking a personal relationship.
Kruse could not immediately be reached for comment.