Report: Lawmaker had pattern of inappropriate behavior

Central Washington University fired Matt Manweller, a political-science professor, last week.

  • By Wire Service
  • Wednesday, August 22, 2018 6:29pm
  • Northwest

Associated Press

SEATTLE — While teaching at Central Washington University, Republican Rep. Matt Manweller engaged “in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior” with students and former students, according to an investigative report released Wednesday.

The investigation was completed in July. The university fired Manweller, who had been working at CWU as a political-science professor, last week.

The 85-page report released Wednesday details interviews with some of Manweller’s past students who felt that Manweller had engaged in unwelcome attention, unwanted touching and grooming behavior, the Seattle Times reported . That included comments about how the women looked, physical touching and asking inappropriate personal questions.

In one case, a woman who was his student in 2009 said Manweller touched her leg during a meeting and said, “There’s always a way for you to get an A in this class.” She understood him to mean that a sexual favor could earn her a positive grade. The woman says she immediately dropped Manweller’s class. Manweller denied touching the woman’s knee and would never have made that offer, according to the report.

Manweller had been on paid leave from the school since December. That same month he was removed by House Republican leadership from his ranking member position on a House committee, and resigned his position as assistant floor leader. House leadership at the time wouldn’t offer additional details about the decision.

Manweller, who had been a professor at the university since 2003, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university and the investigator seeking $2 million in damages.

During Manweller’s time there, two prior investigations into allegations against him concluded that there was evidence to suggest he had violated the school’s sexual harassment policy.

In one of those, a student reported that Manweller invited her to a bar in 2006 and propositioned her and a friend to have a threesome. Manweller disputed the accounts but conceded he may have said something in the bar meeting that caused offense.

Manweller has been in the Legislature since 2012 in a district that includes Ellensburg, which is home to CWU. He’s running for re-election against Democrat Sylvia Hammond in November after a primary in which he led with 63 percent of the vote.

Manweller claims the university’s investigation was politically motivated and is accusing the investigator of biased work that sought “whatever possible dirt she could concoct” on him. In a video he posted on Twitter on Wednesday, he also accused officials of targeting him over what he described as the “trivial or even nitpicky” nature of the allegations.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Northwest

Alaska Airlines aircraft sit in the airline's hangar at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in SeaTac, Wash. Boeing has acknowledged in a letter to Congress that it cannot find records for work done on a door panel that blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight over Oregon two months ago. Ziad Ojakli, Boeing executive vice president and chief government lobbyist, wrote to Sen. Maria Cantwell on Friday, March 8 saying, “We have looked extensively and have not found any such documentation.” (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
FBI tells passengers on 737 flight they might be crime victims

Passengers received letters this week from a victim specialist from the federal agency’s Seattle office.

Skylar Meade (left) and Nicholas Umphenour.
Idaho prison gang member and accomplice caught after ambush

Pair may have killed 2 while on the run, police say. Three police officers were hospitalized with gunshot wounds after the attack at a Boise hospital.

Barbara Peraza-Garcia holds her 2-year-old daughter, Frailys, while her partner Franklin Peraza sits on their bed in their 'micro apartment' in Seattle on Monday, March 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
Micro-apartments are back after nearly a century, as need for affordable housing soars

Boarding houses that rented single rooms to low-income, blue-collar or temporary workers were prevalent across the U.S. in the early 1900s.

Teen blamed for crash that kills woman, 3 children in Renton

Four people were hospitalized, including three with life-threatening injuries. The teenage driver said to be at fault is under guard at a hospital.

Snow is visible along the top of Mount Pilchuck from bank of the Snohomish River on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Washington issues statewide drought declaration, including Snohomish County

Drought is declared when there is less than 75% of normal water supply and “there is the risk of undue hardship.”

Dave Calhoun, center, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Jan. 24. (Samuel Corum / Bloomberg)
Boeing fired lobbying firm that helped it navigate 737 Max crashes

Amid congressional hearings on Boeing’s “broken safety culture,” the company has severed ties with one of D.C.’s most powerful firms.

Rosario Resort and Spa on Orcas Island (Photo provided by Empower Investing)
Orcas Island’s storied Rosario Resort finds a local owner

Founded by an Orcas Island resident, Empower Investing plans” dramatic renovations” to restore the historic resort.

People fill up various water jug and containers at the artesian well on 164th Street on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Washington will move to tougher limits on ‘forever chemicals’ in water

The federal EPA finalized the rules Wednesday. The state established a program targeting the hazardous chemicals in drinking water in 2021.

State: Contractor got workers off Craigslist to remove asbestos in Everett

Great North West Painting is appealing the violations and $134,500 fine levied by the state Department of Labor Industries.

Riley Wong, 7, shows his pen pal, Smudge, the picture he drew for her in addition to his letter at Pasado's Safe Haven on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County organization rescues neglected llamas in Yakima County

Pasado’s Safe Haven planned to provide ongoing medical care and rehabilitation to four llamas in its care at its sanctuary.

Whidbey cop accused of rape quits job after internal inquiry

The report was unsparing in its allegations against John Nieder, who is set to go to trial May 6 in Skagit County Superior Court on two counts of rape in the second degree.

LA man was child rape suspect who faked his death

Coroner’s probe reveals the Los Angeles maintenance man was a Bremerton rape suspect believed to have jumped off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.