Bernie Sanders apologizes to female campaign staff who experienced harassment

Lester Mason
January 11, 2019

Earlier Thursday, reports surfaced that a top aide was accused of sexually assaulting a female subordinate. Our standards, our procedures, our safeguards were clearly inadequate, ' he added.

Robert Becker - who oversaw Sanders' campaign in Iowa and, as deputy national field director, subsequently lead the senator's efforts in California, Michigan and NY - allegedly approached the 20-year-old female staffer later that night and grabbed her wrists before forcibly kissing her, the woman and three additional sources cited by Politico claim. Later, he grabbed her wrists and head, forcibly kissed her and put his tongue in her mouth, she and other witnesses alleged.

The accuser said she did not alert higher-ups on the campaign team about the incident due to the campaign being over.

"Candidates who allow people like Robert Becker to lead their organizations shouldn't earn the highest office in our government", she said, adding, "It just really sucks because no one ever held him accountable and he kept pushing and pushing and seeing how much he could get away with". The victim did not formally report the incident at the time, but said she's now coming forward to ensure this doesn't happen again in 2020.

"Every woman in this country who goes to work today or tomorrow has the right to make sure that she is working in an environment that is free of harassment, which is safe and which is comfortable". He denied forcibly kissing the woman, calling it "at odds with my recollection of a late evening filled with many hugs and kisses and tears and conversations about what's next".

Hillary Clinton officially secured the Democratic presidential nomination over Sanders at the convention.

"During the process of routine background checks being conducted, I would occasionally be asked to review potentially questionable or damaging social media posts of potential hires", Becker said in reply to that allegation.

Sanders again Thursday denied knowledge of the alleged harassment, but top officials from his campaign have acknowledged that the gender make-up of any future campaign would need to look sufficiently different to address systemic sexism.

His apology comes as he contemplates another White House bid under the Democratic banner in 2020.

Other former staffers spoke about experiences of sexual misconduct on the campaign trail to the the New York Times, which published a story earlier this month. The New York Times reported last week that a Latino outreach strategist for the campaign complained to a supervisor that she had been harassed by a campaign surrogate. A former Sanders delegate called the culture an "entire wave of rotten sexual harassment that seemingly was never dealt with".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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