State Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, released an apology Sept. 25 to a former co-worker who said she was physically harassed, among other complaints, leading the state GOP to pull resources from his campaign and ask for his resignation.
Long said Sept. 19 he touched a former co-worker on her neck, denying any wrongdoing and vowing to stay in his race against Democratic opponent Lance Yednock, of Ottawa, for the 76th District house seat.
The House Republican Organization has said Long's story does not match the one found in an independent investigation corroborated by a witness. The organization said it has a zero tolerance policy for harassment.
The Sept. 25 apology is the first from Long regarding this incident.
"Although I feel that the non-threatening touch of my co-worker was nothing more than act of concern, and it was never conveyed to me that it was a problem, I want to say that I never want to ever put anyone in that position of being uneasy," Long said.
"I, therefore, reach out with a sincere apology to my co-worker of the situation that I have put her into."
Long said he will likely post the apology to social media.
Long has said the complaints against him stem from a contentious relationship with the House Republican Organization. Between the House Republican Organization and Illinois Republican Party, Long had received more than $125,000 in this campaign with a donation recorded Sept. 7, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
"It's no secret that the Republican Party hacks have disowned me and pulled away from me for something that has yet been proven," Long said Sept. 23 in a Facebook post. "They have chosen to find me guilty without due process, therefore we must implement a grassroots campaign to make sure we maintain this seat."
Long said he will address the complaint at a campaign event at August Hill Winery in Utica, in which he's asking those in attendance to open their checkbook for $25, $50 or $100 donations.
The House Republican Organization, through spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis, said last week it stands by the independent investigator's report and subsequent actions rendered to Long.
The complainant said in a statement through the House Republican Organization "the verbal abuse and abuse of power on a daily basis resulted in a hostile work environment." Her name has been withheld by the state organization to respect a request for privacy.