HARRISBURG — Republican leaders of the Pennsylvania House are urging a state representative to resign amid allegations he forced a woman to have sex after they broke up and threatened to kill another while driving at a high speed and brandishing a gun.
The seven highest-ranking GOP leaders in the House released a statement Thursday saying the claims should be properly investigated by police but Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli should step down in the meantime.
The leaders say the integrity of the Legislature and the safety of members and employees are at stake.
A state official and a campaign consultant filed a complaint about Miccarelli with the House about three weeks ago. He’s denied the allegations and is not charged with any crime.
Messages seeking comment from Miccarelli weren’t immediately returned on Thursday.
The lawyer for the two women confirmed that allegations were lodged in early February against Miccarelli, as first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Caucus newspaper.
Miccarelli posted a Facebook statement denying the allegations entirely and vowing to fight them.
“Unfortunately, I cannot disprove something that never happened, but I can tell you these allegations, if true, would have been reported to the cops, the DA, or another law enforcement agency,” he wrote. “No charges were ever filed because these are complete fabrications.”
A current state official and a political consultant, who both dated Miccarelli a few years ago, filed a confidential, three-page complaint, the papers said.
The state official described Miccarelli to the newspapers as controlling and claimed he kicked, pinched and hit her, including at legislative events they attended together. The women’s lawyer, Terry Mutchler, confirmed that she attached a note to her life insurance policy that said Miccarelli should be investigated if something happened to her.
She said in the House complaint that she did go to police with concerns Miccarelli may have tried to use potentially embarrassing information against her, the papers said. She said she did not provide more information, as police asked, because she was afraid of him, they reported.
The political consultant, who the papers said worked for a decade on Republican political campaigns, alleged that after she ended their relationship in 2014, he came to her house and forced her to have sex, holding her neck during part of the alleged attack. The papers said she told a co-worker about the attack at the time, and the co-worker confirmed it.
“These allegations are alarming, and if true, cannot and will not be tolerated in our caucus, in the House, or anywhere,” House Republican leaders wrote in a statement released Wednesday evening. “We are in the midst of investigating claims which were brought to us and have been working with Capitol Police to address concerns raised during our investigation. While we hope to conclude the investigation this week, as of today, law enforcement is involved.”
Miccarelli, 35, a resident of Ridley, noted in his Facebook post that he was married last week and said he had consensual relationships with the women and has never been threatening or violent to a woman he dated.
Mutchler said both suffered injuries she declined to describe.
“Our paramount concern is the safety of our clients as well as the safety of the public,” Mutchler said in a phone interview. “Our clients are working closely with, and cooperating with, the House investigation as they continue their difficult and challenging work.”
She said neither woman went to police with their claims of abuse at Miccarelli’s hands. She said Miccarelli’s comments about the “Me Too” movement against sexual abuse was one reason they decided to make a complaint.
“I think that any time that you’re dealing with situations like this, as anyone in this field will tell you, it’s a process,” Mutchler said. “At this juncture we’re not saying anything beyond that our clients chose to file this complaint with the House.”
The action by the Republican leaders followed a Wednesday call for Miccarelli to resign by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. On Thursday, the chairman of the state Democratic Party also said he should step down.
“The assault and harassment claims alleged against Nick Miccarelli are some of the most horrific and egregious charges asserted against any state public official in recent memory,” said the Democratic chairman, Jack Hanna. “He is unfit to serve in Harrisburg.”
Miccarelli is in the middle of a fifth two-year term, representing a district just outside Philadelphia.