By Anna Hopkins
Published March 19, 2019
Pennsylvania State Representative Brian Ellis has resigned after reportedly being accused of raping an incapacitated woman at his home several years ago.
In a statement written to the House speaker on Monday, the Republican lawmaker said his resignation would be effective immediately, and that serving the district was his "highest professional honor," WTAE reports.
His unnamed accuser is reportedly a state employee who never worked directly for Ellis, but had rejected advances from the husband and father-of-two "multiple times before," according to state victim advocate Jennifer Storm. The woman said that she was having a drink with a friend when she believes she was drugged, and had no memory of the next 12 hours. The next day, she went to the hospital.
"She reported to doctors that she had no memory of the previous evening and she believed she was sexually assaulted," her lawyer, Christine Wechsler, said on Friday.
The incident is thought to have taken place at Ellis' home near the capitol in Harrisburg at least three years ago.
Ellis was stripped of his chairmanship of the House Consumer Affairs Committee two months ago when the allegations were first revealed, and was subsequently encouraged by House Republican leaders to step down "to take care of his family and address the allegations raised against him," a statement read.
A criminal investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney is ongoing, but Ellis has yet to be charged with any crime.
"It is with immense gratitude to the sacrifices made by my family, the support of my constituents, and the friendship of my colleagues that I have concluded that it is in the best interests of my family, the residents of the 11th House district, and my own health that I resign from the General Assembly," Ellis said on Monday.
"By this letter, I hereby officially tender my resignation as the state representative for the 11th House district, effective immediately."