The Lead

Sexual assault complaint against Butler County lawmaker filed with Pa. House GOP

By: - March 13, 2019 4:49 pm

The Capitol building in Harrisburg (Capital-Star photo)

A woman who has accused state Rep. Brian Ellis, R-Butler, of sexual assault has sent a formal complaint against him to a lawyer working for the House Republican majority, according to reporting by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Philadelphia Inquirer.

The complaint stems from an incident in October 2015, when the victim went out to a Harrisburg bar with a friend. After less than two drinks, she said she remembered waking up the next morning next to Ellis in his bed, according to her complaint, which was reviewed by the Post-Gazette and the Inquirer.

Ellis, in office since 2005, has been absent from Harrisburg since the Inquirer first reported that the Dauphin County District Attorney had launched a criminal investigation into the accusation in late January.

READ MORE: The House has a new mechanism to look into lawmaker’s sexual misconduct. Is it enough?

Ellis’s law firm, Myers, Brier & Kelly LLP, based in Scranton, denied the allegation.

“This anonymous complaint was prepared by the accuser’s hired agents – and instantly given to numerous media outlets – for one cynical reason: to generate sensational press coverage,” the firm said in a statement according to PennLive. “The accuser’s latest self-serving repackaging of the 2015 allegations are just plain false.”

Following the report of a criminal investigation, House Republican leadership stripped Ellis of his chair of the Consumer Affairs Committee and publicly called on him to resign.

Ellis has not personally commented since the accusation surfaced.

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Stephen Caruso
Stephen Caruso

Stephen Caruso is a former senior reporter with Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Before working with the Capital-Star he covered Pennsylvania state government for The PLS Reporter.