Democrat Mike Sprinkle resigned from the Nevada Assembly Thursday morning in the wake of undisclosed sexual harassment allegations.
Sprinkle is the second Democratic lawmaker to resign from the Nevada Legislature in recent weeks. Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson stepped down on March 7th to plead guilty to misappropriation of campaign funds.
Mike Sprinkle resigns via written statement
Mike Sprinkle was not present at the Nevada legislature building to resign in person this morning. Instead he released a written statement via the Assembly Democratic Caucus:
“In light of the growing sexual harassment claims against me I will be resigning from my position as state assemblyman effective today. I consider myself to be a caring and compassionate person who has worked hard to serve the people who have elected me to office. I am truly disappointed in myself for anything that I have done to discredit the legislature or the state of Nevada.
“As for the claims against me, I am so sorry that anyone ever felt harassed or threatened by me. While that was never my intention, I am taking full responsibility for my actions and would never discredit the feelings or concerns of someone who felt wronged by me. I will continue to seek therapy to better myself and can only ask for forgiveness from those whom I have hurt but mostly from my family who do not deserve what I have put them through. At this time, I ask the members of the press to respect my family’s privacy.”
“Growing sexual harassment claims” so far unexplained
While Sprinkle’s decision to resign was decisive, so far there has been no explanation of exactly what he has been accused of.
Republican leaders called on Assembly speaker Jason Frierson to release details of the allegations, but shortly afterwards Frierson admitted he had none to provide.
“[Sprinkle] informed us that he was aware of there being allegations that made him second-guess whether or not he thought he should remain in the body,” Frierson told a group of reporters. “I think we have a process available, but he decided to — rather than exercise his opportunity to go through that process — to resign.”
Frierson also explained there is now an “independent investigative process to address complaints regarding the personal conduct of legislators, staff, and lobbyists.” If allegations have been made, as Speaker he would not be aware of them until after an investigation has been completed.
Under rules adopted in 2017, independent investigators maintain a hotline for reporting misconduct. Details about of all allegations confidential until evidence of a violation has been established.
A replacement for Mike Sprinkle in the Assembly will now be chosen by Washoe County commissioners, but it is not known when exactly this will take place.
The news of Sprinkle’s resignation has provoked sharp condemnation from Republicans and Democrats alike.
“I am saddened once again that any member of this body has engaged in this kind of damaging behavior toward others,” said Republican Assemblywoman Jill Tolles in a statement. “Not only does this harm the individuals involved, it also harms public trust in this institution.”
Harsher language came from fellow Democrat, Governor Steve Sisolak:
“I am profoundly disgusted and outraged by Mr. Sprinkle’s reported abuse and misconduct … Let me send a clear message to any and all individuals who think it’s okay to harass others in the workplace: such behavior will not be tolerated, and my administration will see to it that such bad actors face the consequences of their behavior.”