Report: Rep. Matt Manweller placed on leave over allegations
State Legislator Matt Manweller, who said he won’t resign over allegations of sexual harassment, has been placed on leave from Central Washington University.
The university confirmed it has opened a new investigation into an allegation of inappropriate conduct involving Manweller, The Tacoma News Tribune reports. The college would not go into details beyond that. Manweller, teaches political science at the university, and is a Republican representative from Washington’s 13th Legislative District.
Manweller gave KIRO 7 a statement regarding the leave:
As a result of the media frenzy surrounding two 12-year-old unsubstantiated allegations, CWU received a handful of emails and phone calls from ex-students over the weekend. Based on those calls, CWU will be hiring an outside investigator.
He also said that people should wait until the investigation is over before jumping to any conclusions.
Last week, allegations of the professor acting inappropriately around students were made public. The claims were on top of other previously-known allegations from 2006.
In the wake of recent news, Manweller’s ex-wife has spoken out, saying that she met the man when she was 16 and he was her teacher at a Utah school. She claims that the two first kissed when she was 17 years old and still in high school. She told The Tacoma News Tribune that they did not officially date until she was 18 and a senior. She he now feels she was groomed “to be a trophy wife,” and that Manweller preyed on her insecurities.
Manweller denies these claims and insists that they began their relationship when she was 18 and he was 30. They were married shortly after she graduated high school, according to the Tribune.
Manweller responds to allegations
Manweller initially responded to the recent allegations after a Seattle Times report, calling it a witch hunt.
“The problem in this Weinstein witch-hunt era is everybody is going back and trying to dig things up to keep the momentum alive,” he told 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz.
Manweller was elected to the state House in 2012. Lobbyists that work with him told the The Seattle Times he made comments about their physical features and clothing. Other lobbyists told the Times there is an “informal network of women” who prepare newcomers and warn them about Manweller.
“I compliment people on their dress all the time,” Manweller responded. “I won’t do that anymore if it leads to complaints.”
“How did we get to this place in the world where, when you comment on someone’s outfit, you’re punished?”