Leaders of the Maine Democratic Party are calling for one of their state representatives to resign after he was accused of sexual misconduct while teaching in Maine schools.
Rep. Dillon Bates, D-Westbrook, allegedly had sexual or romantic relationships with high school girls during the past decade, according to a Friday report in The Bollard. The Portland-based monthly magazine does not name any of the girls and only quotes one alleged victim.
On Friday morning, House Speaker Sara Gideon called the accusations “deeply troubling” and said she has asked Bates to resign from office immediately. Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett called Bates’ alleged actions “absolutely unacceptable” and called for his immediate resignation.
Bates, who is serving his second term representing House District 35 and announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election, didn’t respond to a call and email on Friday. His lawyer, Walter McKee, said in a statement that the allegations were “baseless,” there was “not a shred” of evidence to back them and Bates would serve out his term.
Gideon spokeswoman Mary-Erin Casale said that the speaker’s office was approached by a reporter “several months ago” with rumors of Bates’ alleged misconduct and that he and others were asked about them. Bates denied the rumors and no evidence emerged to back the claims, she said.
Casale said Bates was told at the time that the speaker would ask him to resign immediately if evidence emerged.
As of March 2017, Bates was a chorus and drama teacher at The Maine Girls’ Academy in Portland. The private school announced it would be closing this summer. The chairwoman of its board of trustees did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Bates has coached in three Maine school districts — the Portland school district, the Cumberland-based Regional School Unit 51 and the Waterboro-based RSU 57, according to Maine Department of Education records. There were no disciplinary records in his state file as of a June search.
He is listed as the head track and field coach at Massabesic High School in Waterboro. In a photo on his Facebook page, Bates can be seen sitting with the school’s track team wearing a “Mustang Track & Field” T-shirt.
Staff at the school did not respond to calls and emails Friday.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-871-7741.
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