COLUMBUS, Ohio — The leader of the Ohio House is encouraging a constituent-turned-political rival of state Rep. Rick Perales to take her allegations of misconduct against the lawmaker to law enforcement.

In a letter Tuesday, Republican Speaker Clifford Rosenberger called Jocelyn Smith’s claims that Perales, a Beavercreek Republican, kissed, choked and fondled her “extremely serious.” But he said they are outside of his jurisdiction.

Perales acknowledges exchanging texts with Smith in 2015 that he describes as “flirtatious,” including sexually-tinged conversations and topless photos of Smith. He has denied any physical contact.

Smith, a Fairborn Republican, has launched a campaign to unseat Perales in the May 8 primary.

She also has threatened to release further details of their relationship if Perales does not step down from his House seat. Perales says he won’t resign.