Two women have accused Rep. Josh Zepnick, D-Milwaukee, of kissing them without their consent.
According to The Capital Times, the women — who requested anonymity — said the alleged incidents took place at political events in 2011 and 2015. Both were political staffers for organizations and candidates affiliated with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin at the time of the alleged incidents.
The first incident took place at an election party for a 2011 Democratic Senate recall candidate. The woman said Zepnick, who was described as drunk, approached her at the party and kissed her without her consent. At the time of the incident, she was a legislative aide to a state representative.
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The second alleged incident occurred at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin’s 2015 state convention. Similar to the 2011 incident, Zepnick was described as considerably intoxicated. After the woman, a DPW staffer, separated Zepnick from a “heated” argument he was having with then Rep. Mandela Barnes, D-Milwaukee, she said Zepnick kissed her without her consent.
At the time of both incidents, Zepnick was a sitting state representative. He has represented the 9th Assembly district, which largely includes the south side of Milwaukee, for the last fourteen years.
In response to the allegations, Zepnick said he was unaware of the incidents and has never been confronted with complaints related to sexual assault by any political staff. According to the article, however, several sources have said they had heard rumors of Zepnick’s inappropriate behavior toward women before.
In response to the incident, DPW spokesperson Melanie Conklin said the party does not tolerate sexual harassment. She cited mandatory training which all party employees must complete, and said all employees are encouraged to report incidents of sexual harassment.
Following the allegations, Rep. Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg, and Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, have called on Zepnick to resign. At the time of this article, Zepnick has not resigned and has not offered further comment on the allegations.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.