Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed a panel of five legislators who will investigate allegations of sexual harassment against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, which could result in the embattled lawmaker’s removal from office.

The speaker said on Thursday that the accusations against Arnold made by two longtime female staffers has become a distraction in the House, and needs to be resolved.

The committee will be made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, including two women. It will submit a final report to the 100-member House during the legislative session in January.

The investigative committee:

  • Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington
  • Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond
  • Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville
  • Rep. Julie Adams, R-Louisville
  • Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington

Stumbo filed the petition to investigate Arnold on Thursday, a day after rejecting a meeting with other top legislative leaders to privately discuss an ongoing probe of the allegations by the Legislative Research Commission.

A House committee also suspended Arnold as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.

The investigative committee will have the power to summon Arnold to answer any charges against him.

Arnold could not be reached for comment.