A Pennsylvania state Capitol worker claims she was drugged and sexually assaulted by a state lawmaker — who had offered to give her a ride home from the bar.
“This woman was incapacitated,” said state Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm, speaking to PennLive.
“She does believe that she was drugged and that she did seek medical attention the following day because she was in pain and she did indeed have a concussion and other injuries.”
Prosecutors in Dauphin County, PA., are reportedly investigating the woman’s allegations, which were made public this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer after being filed in a complaint last year.
She claims Rep. Brian Ellis, a Butler County Republican, slipped something in her drink while the two were hanging out at a bar in downtown Harrisburg back in Oct. 2015.
Sources told PennLive that the woman fell and hit her head at some point and Ellis, 49, offered to help get her home soon-after.
“We want to make it very clear that she was not voluntarily intoxicated,” Storm said. “As you can imagine, this is an incredibly scary and emotional experience and there are work factors at play.”
Sources said the woman chose to come forward last year after hearing about news reports of another state lawmaker — Rep. Nick Miccarelli (R-Delaware County) — who had been accused of sexual assault by two different individuals.
“A lot of people don’t understand that and don’t truly get when consent can truly be given and when it cannot,” Storm said.
According to PennLive, Ellis knew his accuser through her work at the state Capitol.
Sources told the Inquirer that the alleged assault went down at his home in Harrisburg. Ellis allegedly told the woman the next morning that the two had sex, despite the fact that she had turned him down the night before, the sources said.
Ellis has not commented on the accusations against him. Attempts to reach him at his District and Capitol offices were unsuccessful on Friday.
Storm told PennLive that she believes the investigation will ultimately send a signal to other female employees — who may have been victimized over the years — that they will be heard and “protected” should they come forward.
She called the Ellis accuser “a very consistent” and “brave” woman for doing what she’s doing.
“She has been weighing her options and trying to move through the aftermath and trauma of this in a thoughtful way,” Storm said.
”So I think she is an incredibly brave and courageous woman for wanting to come forward and wanting to protect other women in the Capitol building and wanting people to know who this guy really is.”
House Republican leaders have reportedly decided to take away Ellis’ position as chairman of the House Commerce Committee as a result of the rape investigation — and several have called on him to resign. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has also urged the lawmaker to step down, as well.
“The allegations against Representative Ellis are outrageous and unacceptable,” said Wolf spokesman J.J. Abbott in a statement on Friday.
“We stand with the survivor whose decision to come forward and seek justice is courageous. Governor Wolf believes Rep. Ellis should resign.”
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