HARRISBURG — A woman accusing State Rep. Brian Ellis (R., Butler) of sexual assault filed a formal complaint with House Republicans on Tuesday, saying she hopes the chamber “rids itself of a member who is not deserving of the public’s trust.”
A spokesman for House Republicans declined to comment.
The complaint was addressed to an attorney who works for the GOP caucus and its members on the Ethics Committee, which has the power to recommend various sanctions, up to removing someone from the House.
Earlier this year, House Republican leaders called on Ellis to resign, and suspended him of his committee chairmanship pending the outcome of a criminal investigation by the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.
Ellis has not publicly addressed the allegations and could not immediately be reached. The law firm representing him, Myers, Brier & Kelly LLP, said in a statement Tuesday evening that it believes the complaint “was prepared by the accuser’s hired agents — and then instantly given to numerous media outlets — for one cynical reason: to generate sensational press coverage.”
"The accuser’s latest self-serving repackaging of the 2015 allegations are just plain false," the firm added.
The woman wrote in her complaint that she did not immediately report Ellis’ actions because she was “traumatized, ashamed, and confused,” and “feared what would happen to me professionally and personally if I came forward.”
She added later: “I have come to appreciate that the House, however, has the ability to hold Ellis accountable for his heinous actions.”
In the five-page complaint, filed Tuesday, the woman said she went to a Harrisburg bar with a friend in October 2015 and believes she had less than two drinks.
“I have scant memories of the next 10 hours, and was in a state of blackout,” she wrote in the complaint, a copy of which was reviewed by The Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I woke up in pain, injured and naked, the next morning in the bed of Rep. Brian Ellis.”
The woman wrote that she tried to get out of the bed, but struggled.
“I was slow in processing information, and I actually thought maybe I had been hit by a car or sustained a serious injury to my head, given my state of disorientation. Before that morning, I had never experienced any type of cognitive or mental deficits like this,” she wrote.
She wrote that she confronted Ellis, who told her, “We had sex.”
When she told him she never would have done that, he said he “always knew we would,” according to her complaint. She wrote that prior to that evening, he had “made it known to me that he was interested in me sexually,” and she repeatedly rebuffed him.
The woman wrote that she “believed [she] was raped,” and later went to a hospital, where she was examined and given medication. She wrote that she was at some point diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Inquirer and the Post-Gazette do not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults unless they ask to be named. The woman works in state government but not directly for Ellis.