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Commissioners call for Lancaster County Sheriff to resign over sexual harassment allegations

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Mark S. Reese, Sheriff (Photo taken from http://web.co.lancaster.pa.us/160/Sheriffs-Office)

LANCASTER, Pa.–The Lancaster County Board of Commissioners are calling for Lancaster County Sheriff Mark Reese to resign over allegations that he sexually harassed a deputy sheriff.

In a statement released Friday, the commissioners say Deputy Sheriff Jessica Padilla filed a complaint with county commissioners on July 13, accusing Sheriff Mark Reese of “severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”

The Board of Commissioners launched an internal investigation into the accusations, which was conducted by senior staff, according to the statement.

During the investigation, Reese was notified of the investigation and was told not to communicate with Deputy Padilla.

On July 26, Reese voluntarily agreed to take a leave from his duties pending the investigation.

Preliminary findings in the investigation reveal that Reese’s conduct with respect to an individual who is his subordinate is unacceptable and violates the County’s code of conduct and policy regarding sexual harassment, according to the statement.

Reese, by his own admission, sent the lewd emails–which the commissioners describe as being explicit, pornographic an inappropriate.

The Board of Commissioners say they do not have the legal authority to terminate the employment of an elected official. However, based on the preliminary findings of the investigation, the Commissioners join together in calling for the immediate resignation of Sheriff Mark Reese.

Lancaster County’s sexual harassment policy:

The County of Lancaster is committed to providing a work environment free from harassment of any kind and, in particular, a work environment that does not tolerate sexual harassment. We respect the individual dignity of everyone involved in our work, whether employees, clients, customers or suppliers.

Click here to read the full statement regarding Sheriff Mark Reese