Congresswomen accuse two USA lawmakers of sexual harassment

15 November, 2017, 01:10 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Sexual Harassment in Congress

She dropped a bombshell allegation in her testimony, saying that two active members of Congress are known to be sexual harassers.

During the hearing to review the House's sexual harassment policies, Comstock said it was "important that we name names".

"A young staffer had been asked to go to a member's residence to bring some documents and was greeted by a member in a towel who then brought her in and exposed himself and she left and she chose to quit the office and has moved on", Comstock said.

Comstock - who worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer early in her career and served in the Virginia House of Delegates before being elected to represent Northern Virginia's 10th District past year - said Congress needs more training and stronger safeguards in place to ensure women don't have to give up their careers to escape sexually aggressive behavior.

Virginia Congresswoman Barbara Comstock told FOX 5 she knew one former Capitol Hill staffer who had a Congressman expose himself to her. "She left and then she quit her job", Comstock told the committee.

"I just did what most women in my position would've done and just never ended up in a room near him again", Speier said.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky support ramping up sexual harassment training, as does House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

"Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution", Ryan said in a statement.

Last week the Senate passed a measure requiring harassment training for senators and congressional aides.

In order to fix the problem, members called for mandatory in-person sexual harassment training and a regular climate survey of members and staff. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.

She also noted that cases between staff members and lawmakers are "very rare" and that mediation cases are overwhelmingly between two staff members. Payouts to the victims were not financed by the people who engaged in sexual harassment but by taxpayers. "And then they have to go through a one-month "cooling off" period, all the while they are still required to work in that office that was a hostile work environment", she said.

The hearing called attention to the incredibly convoluted process a staffer must undergo to report an incident to the congressional Office of Compliance.

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