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Zabel Not Resigning, But Stepping Away

Mike Zabel

Delaware County state representative Mike Zabel says he’s not resigning due to allegations of sexual harassment, but stepping away from some of his duties as he seeks treatment of an unspecified nature.

In a letter to House Democratic leaders, Zabel said he was “very mindful of and saddened by the sensitive and disturbing allegations against me.”

Andi Perez, a lobbyist for the SEIU 32BJ Union, stated that Zabel sexually harassed her four years ago, caressing her leg while they were discussing legislation outside the Capitol and that he did not stop when she moved away from him.

In response, Perez’s union called for Zabel’s resignation. “We hope he gets the help he feels he needs, but he is correct — his behavior has no place in the Legislature and he should no longer be a member” of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, according to the statement by the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council.

House GOP members have taken a similar stance.

“Rep. Mike Zabel should resign immediately,” said the House Republican Leadership team, consisting of Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Whip Tim O’Neal (R-Washington), Appropriations Chair Seth Grove (R-York), Caucus Chairman George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland), Caucus Secretary Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Caucus Administrator Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland), and House Republican Policy Committee Chair Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington).

“In 2018, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle said, ‘Anyone accused of a credible violation like this should resign their position.’ Now that a member of their caucus has been credibly accused of multiple and serious incidents of sexual harassment, it would be our hope that Democrats would join us in calling on Rep. Zabel to resign.

House Democratic Leaders said in a statement that “while Rep. Zabel has declined to resign, we agree that it is appropriate for him to take a step back from his work and focus on the challenges before him. Stepping back includes resigning from the Judiciary Committee, not taking other committee assignments, and entrusting the Democratic Caucus with constituent services for people of 163rd legislative district.”

“My illness has caused some behavior that I regret, and I agree that additional intervention is necessary for me to fully recover,” Zabel wrote. “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 wrote that he intends to cooperate fully with the House Ethics Committee “in considering any allegations against me” and apologized for putting fellow House Democrats in a “difficult position.”

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