Zepnick says his removal from committees over sexual misconduct allegations ‘unfair’

Dem state Rep. Josh Zepnick says he is “disappointed and disturbed” by Minority Leader Gordon Hintz pulling him off five legislative committees following allegations he kissed two women without their consent in 2011 and 2015.

Zepnick, D-Milwaukee, said he has been facing anonymous allegations and again said he will not resign despite calls from his colleagues and party leaders to do so.

“Last time I checked, there is still a U.S. Constitution that provides something called ‘due process’ where I have the right to defend myself,” Zepnick said in a statement.

He also called the move “unfair” and hoped it would be temporary.

Hintz said yesterday stripping Zepnick of his committee assignments is “one of the few disciplinary actions available” following the allegations. Hintz added he would continue discussions with his caucus and Assembly Republicans “to ensure this issue is addressed in an appropriate manner.”

Hintz and Assembly Dem leaders have called on Zepnick to resign. But Zepnick said who represents the 9th AD is a “decision made by voters” and he will make a decision about seeking re-election next year “at the appropriate time in my life.”

Zepnick added in the emailed statement he is focused on his family and his father, who is dying of cancer, “might not make it to see Christmas.” He said his family, and friends support him “200 percent,” as does his wife. The two have been separated since May 2014, according to the statement.

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