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Wisconsin lawmakers oust majority leader over sexual accusations

MADISON -- Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly ousted Rep. Bill Kramer as majority leader Tuesday after accusations that he sexually harassed one woman and inappropriately touched another.

Hours later, they replaced him for the time being with state Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend. She is not seeking re-election this fall, so

Assembly Republicans will have to find someone else for the post in 2015, when the next session starts.

The Republican caucus took the vote to remove Kramer after meeting in closed session for 90 minutes. The tally was taken by secret ballot, but state Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, said afterward the vote was unanimous.

"Representative Kramer has lost the trust and confidence of the Assembly Republican caucus," said state Rep. Mary Williams, R-Medford, who made the motion to remove him from office.

Kramer, of Waukesha, is accused to groping a legislative aide and making crude remarks to a lobbyist last week while in Washington, D.C., for a fundraiser. His aides have said he has checked himself into an unspecified treatment program, and he was not present for Tuesday's vote.

"We need to, as a caucus, hold Representative Kramer accountable for the actions he allegedly did this past week," said state Rep. Daniel LeMahieu, R-Cascade, in advocating for removing Kramer before the vote.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and others have called on him to resign from the Legislature if the allegations are true.