Amid assault allegations, Rep. Zach Fansler resigns

Rep. Zach Fansler, D-Bethel, addresses the Capitol Press Corps in March 2017. Fansler is facing calls for him to resign from both caucuses after a woman alleged he assaulted her. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

District 38 Representative Zach Fansler has resigned.

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The legislator tendered his resignation letter to House Speaker Bryce Edgmon this morning. “He didn’t feel that he could adequately serve his constituents given the allegations that have been made,” his attorney, Wallace Tetlow, said in an interview with KYUK.

Last weekend, a Juneau woman accused Fansler of slapping her multiple times when she denied his sexual advances, rupturing one of her eardrums in the process. Fansler’s attorney Tetlow has repeatedly denied the allegations on Fansler’s behalf, and Fansler did not mention them, or the woman who accused him, in his resignation letter.

House Speaker Bryce Edgmon released his own statement in response to Fansler’s resignation.

“The circumstances that warranted Rep. Fansler’s resignation were unfortunate and show the problems in our state with domestic violence and alcohol abuse,” Edgmon said in a press release this morning. “I also want to thank all of the victims who have braved so much in coming forward. We can all take heart in their bravery.”

In the Alaska House Majority Coalition’s press release, House Majority Leader Chris Tuck of Anchorage added that, “while Fansler was well liked and respected, his actions were counter to our shared values.”

According to Alaska House Majority Press Officer Michael Mason, Fansler’s resignation will not take effect until February 12. Governor Walker will have until March 14 to name his replacement.

Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Democrats are already considering Fansler’s replacement and will be caucusing to select a new chair for the District’s party on February 6.

KYUK’s reporting on this story is ongoing.