Former Rep. Dillon Bates, D-Westbrook, watches as votes come in during the House of Representatives vote on the state budget at the Maine State House in Augusta in this 2017 file photo. Credit: Ashley L. Conti

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine House lawmakers are set to vote to investigate how a Democratic leader handled allegations of inappropriate behavior against a lawmaker who has since stepped down.

Rep. Paula Sutton, R-Warren, said on her Facebook page Monday that she has re-filed a House order to have the House ethics panel investigate how House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and other House leaders handled allegations made in a Portland monthly magazine against former Rep. Dillon Bates, D-Westbrook.

The Bollard quoted an anonymous source who alleged Bates had romantic relationships with female high school students he met as a teacher and coach. He hasn’t been charged with any crime and denied the allegations, but he resigned from the Legislature last week.

Gideon spokeswoman Mary-Erin Casale declined comment Tuesday. Bates didn’t respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press.

The speaker called for Bates to resign after The Bollard published the allegations in early August. Her office said it learned of allegations against Bates months earlier, but it couldn’t substantiate them and he denied them.

The House could vote on Sutton’s request Thursday, but it’s unclear whether it will win enough support. Democrats control the chamber and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said in a statement after Bates’ resignation that the House “can put this matter behind us.”

BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.

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