CWU suspends Rep. Manweller as new misconduct investigation launched

OraLynn Reeve met Matt Manweller when she was 16 and he was her high school teacher.  
Now 36 and divorced from Manweller, she told the Northwest News Network, "My truth, my story is that I had a man that's 12 years older than me, as a teacher in a position of power, take advantage of me."

Manweller has been a Republican representative from Ellensburg for five years.

He's also a professor at Central Washington University. On Friday, he was suspended, pending an investigation into what the administration said are allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Last week, the Seattle Times reported that the university has investigated Manweller twice before for alleged sexual misconduct with students. Manweller denied the charges, kept his job and was promoted.

His former wife, Reeve, said they began dating about two years after Manweller left his job at her high school and that nothing illegal happened between them.

“When he walked me to my car, he kissed me. So that was the first time there was anything physical. And I would have been 17 at that time," she said.

Manweller remembers things differently.

"We never had a relationship, physical or romantic, until after she was 18,” he said.  "I never had a relationship with her in any way while I was her teacher. There was no misuse of power … we were both adults."

In a statement to KIRO 7 late today, Manweller explained the reason for the new investigation.

“As a result of the media frenzy surrounding two 12-year-old unsubstantiated allegations, CWU received a handful of emails and phone calls from ex-students over the weekend.  Based on those calls, CWU will be hiring an outside investigator. At this point, I do not know anything about the people who called or the messages they left. I do know that I will have a chance to defend myself as the process proceeds. I think everyone should wait until the results of the investigation are made public before jumping to conclusions.”

Manweller is on paid leave until the investigation is complete.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen, the Republican leader in the state House of Representatives, also released a statement late today, referring to unspecified allegations against Manweller at the State Capitol.

“In April of 2017, an issue relating to Representative Matt Manweller was brought to our attention," he said. "We promptly addressed that matter. Personnel matters are treated confidentially, so I will not discuss the specifics.

“Internal discussions are taking place to sort out the facts. We take harassment issues seriously, and everyone shares the goal of a safe workplace environment where people feel empowered to come forward if there is a problem.”