AUGUSTA — A Maine Democrat is at least the 30th lawmaker to leave office since January 2017 following claims of sexual misconduct, according to a 50-state analysis by The Associated Press.

DILLON BATES

Former Maine Rep. Dillon Bates quit last week while denying claims of inappropriate relationships with students.

Bates hasn’t been charged with any crimes and has denied allegations published in an Aug. 3 article in The Bollard magazine. The magazine quoted an anonymous source in an article that alleged Bates had romantic relationships with female high school students, including those he met as a teacher and coach at a now-shuttered all-female high school in Portland.

Maine’s Democratic House speaker, Sara Gideon, and Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett called for Bates’ resignation following the article’s publication. Bates has said he’s resigning to avoid becoming a distraction.

“In my time away from the Legislature, I plan to focus on clearing my name,” Bates said in an Aug. 19 letter of resignation he sent Gideon.

Bates and his attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment last week.

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