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House Speaker Calls On Lawmaker To Resign Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Representative Dillon Bates

Maine Democratic leaders are calling on Westbrook Representative Dillon Bates to resign, following allegations that he sought inappropriate relations with a student at an all-girls school in Portland where he taught. But Bates says he is staying put.

An unnamed former student from the now-closed Maine Girls Academy told The Bollard, a monthly newspaper in Portland, that Bates manipulated her into sexual contact that she was not comfortable with. It was unclear whether the alleged contact took place before or after she graduated or what her age was at the time.

House Speaker Sarah Gideon and state Democratic Party leader Phil Bartlett both issued statements calling on Bates to resign. Gideon called the allegations "deeply troubling."

Bates, who resigned his post as a drama teacher and coach at the school last fall, did not respond to requests for comment. But his lawyer, Walter McKee, says Bates will serve the rest of his term.

"Representative Bates certainly appreciates that Speaker Gideon has expressed concern about allegations that have been made against him,” McKee says. “But any allegations are completely baseless. There is not a shred of evidence to support the allegation that he engaged in any misconduct."

A spokesperson for Speaker Gideon, Mary-Erin Casale, says the Speaker’s office was approached by a reporter “several months ago” with rumors of Bates’ alleged misconduct. She says the Speaker's office immediately confronted Bates, who denied the rumors. Casale says Bates was told at the time that the Speaker would ask him to resign immediately if new information was presented indicating there was truth to the allegations.

Maine Girls Academy Board of Trustees chair Heidi Osborn did not return requests for comment.

Updated 4:55 p.m.