AUGUSTA, Maine — Claims of sexual harassment filed with Maine’s human rights panel have been declining for years, but experts say it’s unclear if recent high-profile allegations will encourage more victims to come forward.

The Portland Press Herald reports that 58 sexual harassment claims were filed with the panel in 2016-2017, down from a high of 170 in 2000-01.

Experts credited the state for requiring more prevention training than other states, but also said the rise of private settlements could be pushing official numbers down.

Amy Sneirson, executive director of the Maine Human Rights Commission, says it’s hard to guess the impact of allegations against public figures like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, but she hopes victims will be emboldened.

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