13th woman steps forward, accuses county legislator of using position to seek women | WHEC.com

13th woman steps forward, accuses county legislator of using position to seek women

Ernest Flagler-Mitchell Photo: News10NBC. Ernest Flagler-Mitchell

Updated: June 10, 2021 05:25 PM
Created: June 10, 2021 11:54 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A 13th woman has come forward with allegations against Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell (D-29), Monroe County Democratic Caucus Legislators announced Thursday.

The woman accuses Flagler-Mitchell of agreeing to help a mother in a Child Protective Service case in exchange for sex. 

Several members of the Monroe County Legislature and lawmakers in Rochester are calling for Flagler-Mitchell to resign over several allegations of inappropriate behavior.

A Monroe County District Attorney's Office's investigation report into Flagler-Mitchell obtained by News10NBC concluded he used his position as a politician to start relationships with women. 

The report documents interviews with 12 women with Flagler-Mitchell either messaged on Facebook or had a relationship with, including  Lakaya Sinclair, a then 19-year-old who Flagler-Mitchell started messaging after she survived a mass shooting at her house last year. 

The same District Attorney’s Office that handled the report, determined Flagler-Mitchell would face no criminal charges for the incident. The county's ethics board last week ruled the legislator violated their code of ethics, finding Sinclair's accusation was entirely credible and Flagler-Mitchell's explanation for sending the photos lacked credibility.

Sinclair and some legislators have made a call to change the current ethics system. 

Flagler-Mitchell released a statement on the most recent allegations against him Thursday afternoon, saying he's never promised anything in return for favors.

"These allegations against me are not true. I have always been one to help people who call on me and I attempted to do so in this instance. Unfortunately, we were unable to resolve this individual’s situation favorably and now she has launched false allegations against me. I have always been one to admit my shortcomings and today will be no different.

As in any marriage, I have experienced ups and downs. Regretfully, I have had moments of infidelity. These are personal matters that my wife and I continue to work through. I have never promised anything in return for favors nor used my position for anything other than serving the people of my district and that’s what I will continue to do. I request that you respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

On Thursday, Dr. Joe Carbone, president of the legislature, Steve Brew, Republican majority leader, and the Republican members of the Monroe County Legislature, called for the resignation Flagler-Mitchell. 

“We worked behind the scenes to encourage Legislator Flagler-Mitchell to resign in an effort to not further politicize the accounts of the brave individuals who came forward in this matter. After being unsuccessful in our attempts, we are today publicly calling for his resignation. Sexual harassment of any form should not be tolerated. These most recent allegations involving misconduct on county property are especially troubling and warrant resignation.”

Democratic New York Assemblyman Harry Bronson also said Flagler-Mitchell should resign immediately.

“I have read the report issued by the District Attorney and the determination by the Monroe County Board of Ethics that he violated county ethics policy. Ernest Flagler-Mitchell’s abuse of power and his position as an elected official and otherwise is shocking. I stand with Lakaya Sinclair and support her. Ernest Flagler-Mitchell must do what is right for the families of Rochester and resign from public office immediately. He has violated the trust of the Rochester Community. Flagler-Mitchel’s actions demonstrate a pattern of harassment using his various positions of power as a County Legislator, a firefighter and pastor that should not be tolerated. He violated the trust of Ms. Sinclair as well as other women and is no longer worthy of the public’s trust.” 

Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company