Schweyer repeats call for changes to protect sexual assault victims

HARRISBURG, March 1 – State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh, issued the following statement regarding the latest news story about a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly being accused of sexual assault.

“Again, another vile account of alleged sexual assault by a member of the General Assembly has been detailed in the news, and this time the accusation is rape. First and foremost, we must offer our full support to the victims while respecting their undeniable right to privacy. 

“Like all Pennsylvanians, I am learning about this behavior through the press and I have no information beyond what has been reported. But one thing is abundantly clear: the Pennsylvania General Assembly is in a serious crisis that demands swift and decisive action. From legislative leaders to rank-and-file members, it is well past time for all of us to come together and fix a broken legislature.

“The victims, as well as every resident of the commonwealth, deserve nothing less.

“Of course, the first step must be that those who commit acts of sexual assault and violence resign immediately.

“As a member of the House Ethics Committee, I cannot comment on any specific member or incident. However, I will again unequivocally state three specific points:

  • We must establish clear guidelines for victims to report incidents that protect their privacy and prevent workplace retaliation;
  • Taxpayer dollars should never be used to pay for the appalling personal behavior of individual members; and
  • Legislative leadership cannot and must not be the agency that investigates alleged acts of sexual assault or sexual harassment. That responsibility should be entrusted to the bipartisan House Ethics Committee or some other outside entity.

“Every Pennsylvanian deserves a safe workplace. Every Pennsylvanian deserves to know that their lawmakers are honorable. We cannot wait another day or let one more victim suffer from our silence,” Schweyer said.