Updated: June 11, 2021 06:06 PM
Created: June 11, 2021 10:18 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Legislator Ernest Flagler Mitchell announced Friday he is temporarily stepping down as leader of the Black and Asian Democratic Caucus amid allegations of inappropriate conduct from several women.
In a brief statement, Flagler-Mitchell said the move is in order to "better deal with personal matters." To be clear, he has not stepped down from being a Legislator, only from the caucus.
Several members of the Monroe County Legislature and lawmakers in Rochester are calling for Flagler-Mitchell to resign.
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 says the allegations are not true. The legislator also said, "During my time away as Leader, Calvin Lee, Jr. will serve as Acting Leader. Please respect my family’s privacy at this time.”
Leaders from the caucus released a statement, saying in part:
"We understand that there have been a number of allegations that have arisen regarding Legislator Flagler-Mitchell. We believe that matters regarding infidelity are between him and his wife. At this time, he needs to focus on repairing that relationship thus he is temporarily stepping down as Leader...None of us condone any harassing behavior and we will allow the independent organizations investigating these matters to conduct their review."
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