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Federal lawsuit filed against Lancaster County Sheriff Mark Reese

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

LANCASTER, Pa.–A Lancaster County deputy sheriff who claims she was sexually harassed by Sheriff Mark Reese filed a federal lawsuit against the Sheriff and Lancaster County last month.

Reese has been accused of sexual harassment and a discrimination complaint has been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of the alleged victim, Jessica Padilla.

It’s been more than 180 days since Padilla filed that complaint and is entitled to sue, according to the lawsuit which was  filed on April 18 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

In the suit, Padilla’s lawyer outlines Reese’s inappropriate behavior beginning in 2014 and states Padilla suffered emotional damage as a consequence.

Padilla is seeking all available relief, together with costs and mandatory attorney’s fees and any remedies the court deems just and proper.

On April 26, state House members voted unanimously (189-0) to launch a Judiciary Committee investigation into Reese, which would determine whether he is liable for impeachment for sexual harassment claims made against him.

A resolution to impeach would mean a civil trial in the Senate. No state elected official has been impeached since 1994.

In December 2016, Lancaster County Sen. Ryan Aument and Sen. Scott Martin announced their plans to introduce a resolution (Senate Resolution 8) to initiate an impeachment process in January. The resolution was referred to the rules and executive nominations committee on Jan. 24. In March, Aument and Miller filed a civil lawsuit against Reese, arguing the sheriff effectively vacated his office while on leave and it must be filled.

In August 2016, Lancaster County Commissioners called for Reese to resign and he has been on paid administrative leave since last summer.