Rep. Speier: Two Sitting Members of Congress Have Engaged in Sexual Harassment

Susan Jones | November 15, 2017 | 6:49am EST
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Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) testifies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (Photo: Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), testifying at a congressional hearing Tuesday, said two sitting members of Congress are sexual harassers, but she did not name them.

Speier recently disclosed that she was a victim of sexual abuse when she was a young staffer in her 20s and was forcibly kissed by a male congressional aide with whom she worked.

"Since I shared my own story...I have had numerous meetings and phone calls with staff members, both present and former, women and men, who have been subjected to this inexcusable and oftentimes illegal behavior," Speier told the House Administration Committee.


“In fact there are two members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, right now, who serve -- who have...engaged in sexual harassment.”

Speier said one of the harassers has propositioned women with the comment, "Are you going to be a good girl?" Another has exposed his genitals, she said, and some victims have had "their private parts grabbed on the House floor."

"All they ask in return as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment. They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable."

Speier said there are three steps Congress must take, including:

-- Requiring sexual harassment prevention and response training every year for both members and staff;

-- Conducting surveys to determine the scope of the problem;

-- And reforming the broken dispute resolution system, which "is not appropriate for the 21st century."

Speier explained the cumbersome process victims must go through when they report abuse, including mandatory counseling for 30 days; then a requirement to sign a nondisclosure agreement prior to mediation, which lasts for another 30 days.

Members are provided free legal counsel by in-House lawyers, but victims are not.

And if the victim makes it that far, they then face a 30-day cooling off period -- all while working in the same legislative office.

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