Pennsylvania GOP state lawmaker resigns after sexual assault accusation

Pennsylvania GOP state lawmaker resigns after sexual assault accusation
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Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Ellis (R) has resigned following a sexual assault accusation. 

Ellis announced his decision, which is effective immediately, in a brief letter submitted to the Pennsylvania House Speaker on Monday, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“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,” wrote Ellis, a Republican from Butler County in Western Pennsylvania. 

Republican leaders in the state's House of Representatives began calling on Ellis to step down in January after reports surfaced that he was being investigated for allegedly raping a woman in 2015. 

The Dauphin County, Pa., district attorney's investigation into allegations that Ellis had sex with a woman while she was incapacitated is ongoing, the Inquirer noted. 

The newspaper added that the woman filed a formal complaint earlier this month with a GOP caucus lawyer and its members on the Ethics Committee.

The woman said in the complaint that she woke up in Ellis's bed naked and in pain in October 2015 after going to a bar with friends. The woman stated that she had fewer than two drinks, but later "was in a state of blackout.” 

The woman, who works in state government but remains unidentified, said Ellis told her they had sex. The Inquirer, citing the complaint, reported that the woman believes she was raped. 

Ellis's attorneys declined to comment to the Inquirer on the lawmaker's resignation. Myers, Brier & Kelly LLP, the firm representing Ellis, said last week that the allegations are “just plain false.”