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Lawmakers say some in Congress are harassers, new policies may be needed

15 November 2017, 02:14 | Taylor George

Congressional talks on sex harassment boil with hypocrisy

Congress Struggles to Confront Sexual Harassment as Stories Pile Up

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".

Speier has introduced bipartisan legislation that would require mandatory training for her House colleagues and their staffs and plans to introduce another bill that would improve the complaint process. When the woman arrived at the member's residence, the member greeted her in a towel, Comstock said, and proceeded to expose himself. And Tuesday's hearing took place just a day after a woman came forward to accuse Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of assaulting her when she was a teen.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who revealed in October that she was sexually harassed as a congressional staffer decades ago, said that since she went public with her story, she has been told of two sitting members of Congress who have allegedly engaged in sexual harassment.

"At that point, he made a decision to expose himself". "But that kind of situation - what are we doing here for women right now who are dealing with somebody like that?" "All they ask in return is that we fix our abusive system and hold perpetrators accountable".

The hearing by the House administration committee, which oversees the chamber's operations, is part of a review of how the House handles sexual harassment claims.

Speier shared her own experience of sexual harassment earlier this month in a video in which she described a chief of staff forcibly kissing her when she was a congressional staffer.

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Ryan said in a statement that the goal is "not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution". In the wake of the allegations, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Republicans, including Ryan, have said Moore should step aside.

"I strongly encourage you to complete sexual harassment training and to mandate the training for your staff".

During a House Administration hearing Tuesday on sexual harassment prevention, Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., said she was recently told about a staffer who quit her job after a lawmaker asked her to bring work material to his house, then exposed himself.

The Senate last week approved a resolution instituting mandatory harassment training for members and aides, a shift from the current voluntary standard.

Interns and fellows do not have access to the process, she noted. He said that would be more effective than the "current patchwork" of policies. After 30 days of mandatory mediation, during which the office or member is represented by House of Representatives counsel, they then have to go through a 30 day "cooling off period".

The lawmaker said that now, if a victim of harassment were to report to the compliance office, they would first be required to undergo mandatory counseling for 30 days.



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