Blind item frenzy: Which con­gress­men are sex­ual as­saulters?

New York Post - - FRONT PAGE - By MARISA SCHULTZ Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Bob Fred­er­icks

At least two mem­bers of Congress have his­to­ries of sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing fe­male col­leagues or staffers — but the pervs’ iden­ti­ties re­main se­cret be­cause of Congress’ way of han­dling such com­plaints.

“There are two mem­bers of Congress, Repub­li­can and Demo­crat, right now who serve who have been sub­ject to re­view or not have been sub­ject to re­view but have en­gaged in sex­ual ha­rass­ment,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) claimed on Tues­day.

Speier didn’t name the creeps in tes­ti­mony be­fore the House Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee. But she de­scribed a sys­tem that al­lows ac­cused ha­rassers to re­main anony­mous — and use tax­payer money for their de­fense and to pay off vic­tims to keep them quiet.

Since re­cently shar­ing her own story of sex­ual ha­rass­ment while a Capi­tol Hill staffer, Speier, 67, said many women have con­fided their own ex­pe­ri­ences to her.

Ha­rass­ment in­cludes ev­ery­thing from ask­ing, “Are you go­ing to be a good girl?” to perps “ex­pos­ing their gen­i­tals, to vic­tims hav­ing their pri­vate parts grabbed on the House floor,” Speier said.

In even more shock­ing tes­ti­mony, Rep. Bar­bara Com­stock (R-Va.) said a young fe­male staffer re­cently went to a cur­rent law­maker’s house to de­liver doc­u­ments.

She was “greeted with the mem­ber in a towel . . . who then in­vited her in,” Com­stock told the com­mit­tee, in an ap­par­ent de­scrip­tion of a third mem­ber of Congress. “At that point, he de­cided to ex­pose him­self. She left and then quit her job.”

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

More than 1,500 for­mer Hill staffers signed a pe­ti­tion urg­ing the House and Se­nate to put in place manda­tory sex­ual-ha­rass­ment train­ing.

“All they ask in re­turn as staff mem­bers is to be able to work in hos­tile-free work en­vi­ron­ment,” Speier said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for man­dated train­ing.

“Go­ing for­ward, the House will adopt a pol­icy of manda­tory anti-ha­rass­ment and anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion train­ing for all mem­bers and staff,” he said.

Cur­rently, ac­cused law­mak­ers get le­gal coun­sel at tax­pay­ers’ ex­pense while the ac­cuser does not. The vic­tim must at­tend coun­sel­ing and is re­quired to sign a nondis­clo­sure agree­ment be­fore me­di­a­tion be­gins, Speier said.

“The present sys­tem may have been OK in the Dark Ages. It is not ap­pro­pri­ate in the 21st cen­tury,” she told the com­mit­tee.

“For the few sur­vivors who se­cure a set­tle­ment, there is no dis­clo­sure of the [con­gress­man] in­volved or the amount of funds.

“The tax­pay­ers foot the bill, the ha­rasser goes on with his or her life. There is zero ac­count­abil­ity and zero trans­parency.”

Speier later told MSNBC that $15 mil­lion in hush money has been paid by the House to ac­cusers of sex ha­rass­ment over the past 10 to 15 years.

A rep for Speier said the vic­tims of the two sit­ting law­mak­ers did not want her to name their abusers. “The vic­tims asked her not to do so be­cause they are at the mercy of nondis­clo­sure agree­ments in per­pe­tu­ity,” the rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

SPEAK­ING UP: Rep. Jackie Speier vents on Tues­day at the Capi­tol.


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