Pennsylvania Democrat resigns after being accused of sexual harasment

March 10, 2023
Robert Ayers

ABC News reports that a Democratic Pennsylvania state lawmaker just resigned, about a week after being accused of sexual harassment. 

The state lawmaker is Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware County).

On Wednesday he tendered his resignation, saying that it is "what is best" for his family. The resignation was somewhat surprising considering that, on Friday, he indicated that he had no plan to do so.

But, apparently, between Friday and Wednesday, something changed.

The backstory

According to the Associated Press, multiple women have now accused Zabel of sexual misconduct. It began last week with an allegation from Andi Perez, a lobbyist with the Service Employees International Union.

Perez, in fact, first made the allegations back in January. But, at the time, she did not name Zabel as the alleged perpetrator. Last week, however, she did just that.

In a statement, Perez, naming Zabel by name, accused him of caressing her leg on one occasion when they were discussing legislation outside of the Capitol. According to Perez, she attempted to indicate to Zabel that she did not want him to do this by moving away from him. But, Zabel didn't stop.

Another woman, Pennsylvania Rep. Abby Major (R-Armstrong County), has now also accused Zabel of sexual misconduct. The incident, according to Major, occurred in mid-November, at a time when she did not know Zabel.

According to Major, a "clearly intoxicated" Zabel complimented her appearance, put his arm around her, touched her back, and asked her if she "wanted to get out of here and go upstairs." Major also claims that other women have similar stories involving Zabel.

The resignation

Following the allegations, Zabel sent a letter to Democratic leaders stating that he was "very mindful of and saddened by the sensitive and disturbing allegations against me." He further wrote:

My illness has caused some behavior that I regret, and I agree that additional intervention is necessary for me to fully recover. I am in the process of securing additional intensive treatment, beyond the outpatient treatment I have been receiving, and am currently working with my health care providers and my family to identify an appropriate inpatient program which I will be entering as soon as possible.

Zabel, however, told Democratic leaders in Pennsylvania that although he is stepping down from the Judiciary Committee he will not resign from his state House seat. On Wednesday, however, he did just that.

Zabel told the Associate Press, "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 further stated that he is "unwilling to put my loved ones through any more of this.”

Zabel, on Wednesday, also sent a letter to Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton in which he formally tendered his resignation. It will take effect on March 16.

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