- Associated Press - Friday, December 1, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Two women have accused Democratic state Rep. Josh Zepnick of sexual misconduct, a newspaper reported Friday.

A woman told The Capital Times that she was working at the state Democratic Party’s 2015 convention in Milwaukee when Zepnick became drunk and kissed her. Another woman the newspaper described as a former legislative staffer said a drunken Zepnick kissed her during a 2011 party for a Senate recall candidate.

Both women requested anonymity, saying they were concerned about their jobs. Neither filed complaints at the time of the incidents but said they decided to tell their stories now in light of multiple women accusing men in politics, entertainment and the media of sexual misconduct.

The convention worker’s co-workers told the newspaper the woman described the incident to them that same night. The newspaper did not name any of those workers. The former legislative staffer told the newspaper she believes others witnessed Zepnick kissing her but isn’t sure who specifically would have seen it.

Zepnick said in an email to the newspaper that no one had ever confronted him with such allegations. He didn’t deny the allegations in the email, and didn’t respond to follow-up messages from both The Capital Times and The Associated Press asking him to clarify whether he denied them.

“No legislative staffer ever confronted me with any such allegation nor did their employer; nor anyone from Legislative Leadership or the Assembly Chief Clerk office,” Zepnick said in his statement.

“No one from the Democratic party staff has ever said anything to me, and since that time, I have had many interactions with political staff which have been professional, positive, and without any suggestion of this type of activity.”

Zepnick, who represents Milwaukee, was first elected to the Assembly in 2002. He was arrested for first-offense drunken driving in October 2015. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a forfeiture, had his license suspended for six months and ordered to use an ignition interlock device for a year.

A spokeswoman for Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz had no immediate comment.

Aides for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling didn’t immediately reply to emails seeking comment.

Earlier this week all four legislative leaders refused to release any sexual harassment complaints Senate and Assembly officials have received, citing privacy concerns.

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