Congressman Patrick Meehan resigns after sexual harassment charge

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Pennsylvania Republican who used taxpayer money to settle a former aide's sexual harassment charges has abruptly resigned from Congress.

Congressman Patrick Meehan had already decided not to seek re-election. Meehan resigned Friday, saying he'll repay the government $39,000 he used to help settle the allegation against him.

Meehan says in a resignation letter that his decision is in the best interest of constituents and will avoid the "rigors" and expense of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. But he says he believes he would have been exonerated.

The complaint against the married lawmaker was revealed by news reports in January. He described the woman in an interview as a "soulmate" and said he'd never sought a romantic relationship with her.