[Photo Credit: By Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA - 15048_gov_group_photos_amb_010, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79003135]

Democrat Lawmaker in Pennsylvania Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

A Democratic Pennsylvania legislator engaged in a sexual harassment controversy reportedly resigned his position on Wednesday.

The state representative had previously stated that he would do so while seeking inpatient treatment for an unnamed ailment.

Democratic state Rep. Mike Zabel resigned effective March 16 in a letter to Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton, providing time for the vacancy to be filled in a May primary.

“The toll is just too great on my family, and was too detrimental to my well-being. I need to focus on what matters,” Zabel said in a statement to the Associated Press.

“Allegations of this nature are impossible to litigate in a public forum. It was always my intention to go through the Ethics Committee process and defend myself there. At this point, though, I am unwilling to put my loved ones through any more of this,” he continued.

Zabel earlier stated that he will not resign from his position in the wake of claims that he sexually assaulted union lobbyist Andi Perez outside the Pennsylvania State House in 2019.

Perez reported the event at the time, but was unable to register an official complaint since House regulations stated that sexual harassment accusations could only be lodged by House members and workers.

Perez sought to modify that regulation in January by speaking before the legislature about the alleged event, though she did not expressly name Zabel at the time.

During a press conference commemorating International Women’s Day on March 8, Republican state Rep. Abby Major raised additional charges of inappropriate behavior by Zabel.

In November, Major claimed she was approached by an inebriated Zabel, who complemented her attractiveness and wrapped his arm around her before asking her to meet him “upstairs.”

Zabel had previously blamed his behavior on “his illness” in a statement he had previously issued in which he had claimed he would not be resigning. The illness in question he appears to be referring to seems to be substance abuse, for which he claimed he was receiving “outpatient treatment.”

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