US Senator apologises to former lobbyist over sexual misconduct claims; says he won't run for office
US Representative Tom Reed on Sunday (local time) apologised to a former lobbyist who accused him of sexual misconduct several years, adding that he will not run for any elected office in 2022, reported The Hill.
Nicolette Davis, a second lieutenant in the US Army of Fort Sill, Okla, told the Washington Post, that when she was on her first networking trip as a junior lobbyist for an insurance company, she felt the 45-year-old congressman's hand on her back. Davis was 25 at that time.
In a statement, Reed apologised to Davis, saying: "Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her."
"In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility," he added.
He also apologised to his wife, kids, family and colleagues in his congressional district, The Hill reported.
"This is in no way an excuse for anything I have done. Consistent with my recovery, I publicly take ownership of my past actions, offer this amend and humbly apologise again to Davis, my wife and kids, loved ones, and to all of you," he further said, adding that the incident happened during a time when he struggled with alcoholism.
Davis also said that Reed had moved his hand to her thigh, following which she asked the person sitting to her right for help, who promptly pulled the congressman away from the table and out of the restaurant.
Davis's account of Reed's actions in 2017 was supported by a person who was at the table that night. The person told The Post that Reed was visibly intoxicated and put his hand on Davis's back before being escorted from the restaurant while the rest of the group remained.
Davis's account comes at a time when Reed is considering a run against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is facing calls to resign after multiple women have accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour.
Reed has repeatedly promised to combat sexual violence and harassment as one of his priorities in Congress and has also called for Cuomo to be impeached.
He also backed bipartisan legislation in 2018, which was passed by unanimous consent, that required lawmakers to be personally liable for settlements with staffers who alleged harassment, reported Washington Post.