LAS VEGAS — A Democratic state senator from Nevada accused of sexually harassing women resigned Tuesday, less than a week after a law firm probing the allegations concluded that he violated the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy and behaved inappropriately toward female staffers and lobbyists.
Mark Manendo, who represented a Las Vegas area district, served in the Legislature for 23 years. The investigation into his behavior was ordered earlier this year after harassment allegations were brought to the attention of the Senate majority leader.
“As my senate term comes to an end, I feel now is the time to step aside and look for new opportunities to serve others,” Manendo wrote in the resignation letter he sent to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval. He did not address the allegations in his letter nor did he return a request for comment from The Associated Press. Earlier this year, he denied any wrongdoing through an attorney.
The state Senate Democratic Caucus in a statement said the investigation found at least 14 instances of inappropriate behavior that took place during this year’s legislative session, as well as occurrences during previous sessions.
“The investigator concluded that these allegations were credible and established a pattern of Senator Manendo creating an environment that interfered with the work performance of female lobbyists, visitors, and employees of the Legislature,” according to the statement. “The investigator found Senator Manendo’s behavior constituted repeated violations of the Legislature’s anti-harassment policy and that his unacceptable actions ranged from sexual comments and advances to aggressive, confrontational, and harassing conduct. “
The firm also found Manendo attempted to interfere with the investigation even though he was warned against it. The caucus’ statement says Manendo contacted a witness and tried to convince her to make up a different version of events.
Neither Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, a Democrat from Las Vegas, nor the state Senate Democratic Caucus returned requests for comment from The Associated Press Wednesday.
This wasn’t the first time that Manendo faced harassment allegations. In 2003, he was accused of harassing interns, and a subsequent review found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Manendo’s term was set to expire next year.