Two US lawmakers engaged in sexual harassment: congresswomen

Lester Mason
November 14, 2017

Fixing the system, agreed those on the Committee, won't be easy - but mandatory training on sexual harassment will be a necessary first step.

The hearing comes as the national spotlight on workplace sexual misconduct turns to Capitol Hill. Comstock said she heard the story secondhand and did not know the lawmaker's identity, only that he is still a member of Congress.

Speier said, "In fact, there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve, who have been subject to review, or [have not] been subject to review, but have engaged in sexual harassment". The majority of the harassment is directed at female staffers and interns. "There are a lot of tales of these guys going out and behaving very badly with younger staffers".

"I think it's important we name names", Comstock said. "There is a certain code amongst us, we acknowledge among each other what occurs". "You know what? Many of us in Congress know what it's like, because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long".

Over a dozen sources said that there was one California congressman and one Texas congressman who were particularly well-known for sexual harassment.

Meanwhile, CNN said sexual harassment is so common in DC that women share an unwritten "creep list" of male lawmakers to avoid.

Since sharing her story, she said in her opening testimony Tuesday, her office has been "inundated with calls" from current and past Hill staffers telling their stories.

If staffers do go forward with a complaint, they can either file it in court or seek an administrative hearing that leads to negotiations for a settlement.

The OOC has been criticized for having an onerous process for Capitol Hill staffers to report abuse or harassment.

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of NY and Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California have proposed legislation to reform the OOC.

"It was a male, who then invited her in". Former Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California said that she had been sexually harassed by a colleague in front of all their peers in the 1980s.

Sanchez declined to name the lawmaker when asked about the incident on Tuesday. But the men say, 'I have daughters.

The House Administration Committee held a hearing today on sexual harassment in Congress, calling on House members to testify of their experiences.

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 a year ago - 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.

"Under the current process, congressional employees are at best unaware or confused, and at the worst, utterly betrayed", she said, describing a system where the accused but not the accusers are given free legal counsel from Congress' Office of Compliance, where accusers are required to sign non-disclosure agreements about the harassment, and where, in the mandatory mediation that follows, "survivors are often addressed in an aggressive manner".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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