Assembly Majority Whip resigns amid sexual harassment allegations


Cathleen Allison / AP

Nevada Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, D-Sparks, asks questions of energy officials in a special session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Lawmakers are considering a complex package of as much as $1.3 billion in tax breaks and other incentives as part of a deal to bring Tesla Motors to Nevada.

Thu, Mar 14, 2019 (12:06 p.m.)

Majority Whip Mike Sprinkle, a Sparks Democrat, today resigned his Assembly seat amid allegations of sexual harassment.

“In light of the growing sexual harassment claims against me I will be resigning from my position as state assemblyman effective today,” Sprinkle said in a statement released by the Assembly Democratic Caucus. In a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sprinkle said the resignation was effective immediately.

Details of the allegations were not immediately made public.

Sprinkle becomes the second high-profile Democrat to resign from the Legislature this session. Nine days ago, then-Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson resigned after admitting to misusing campaign funds.

Atkinson pleaded guilty to wire fraud earlier this week, admitting he used about $250,000 in campaign funds to pay credit card bills, open a nightclub and lease a Jaguar SUV, among other personal expenses.

Sprinkle was in his fourth term representing District 30, which mainly consists of the city of Sparks, after first being elected in 2012. In 2018, he ran unopposed for the seat.

Washoe County commissioners will appoint Sprinkle’s replacement.

In the statement, Sprinkle apologized and said he would “continue to seek therapy.”

“As for the claims against me, I am so sorry that anyone ever felt harassed or threatened by me,” he said. “While that was never my intention, I am taking full responsibility for my actions and would never discredit the feelings or concerns of someone who felt wronged by me.”

Sprinkle's campaign website says he is a married father of three sons.

Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, D-Las Vegas, said he was committed to maintaining a workplace free of harassment and stressed that Sprinkle's resignation would not stop the body from its work.

“I am deeply disappointed to learn of the behavior of a member of this body that led to his resignation, but our focus must remain on passing legislation that positively impacts all Nevadans,” he said.

Sisolak issued a statement strongly criticizing Sprinkle’s alleged actions.

“I am profoundly disgusted and outraged by Mr. Sprinkle’s reported abuse and misconduct. Let me be perfectly clear: Sexual harassment is never to be tolerated — especially by an elected official entrusted to serve the public,” Sisolak said. “I commend the courage of those who came forward to report Mr. Sprinkle’s behavior, and I encourage and support anyone who is made to feel uncomfortable to voice their concerns.”

Frierson said he was unaware of the specifics of the allegations due to the reporting process for complaints at the Legislature. Those complaints are filed directly with Van Dermyden Maddux, a Sacremento-based investigative law firm that contracts with the Legislature. The firm investigates whether any claims merit further inquiry and reports back its findings. Lawmakers then decide whether Van Dermyden Maddux or another firm should investigate further.

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