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Another Democrat Faces Calls To Resign Because Of Sexual Harassment Allegations
Another!? BuzzFeed originally reported this.
Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman named Samantha. She was his finance director and actually says she was forced to quit her job because Kihuen’s constant advances became too much.
Samantha, whose last name BuzzFeed News is withholding at her request, began working for Rep. Ruben Kihuen early in his campaign to unseat Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy in December 2015 and quit by April 2016. Starting in February of that year, Samantha, who was 25 at the time, said Kihuen, who was then 35 and still competing in the primary race, propositioned her for dates and sex despite her repeated rejections. On two occasions, she says he touched her thighs without consent.
While Samantha was uncertain how she could report her experience, she said she spoke with a contact at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to explain why she was quitting so abruptly, and told the staffer that Kihuen had done things that made her uncomfortable.
“I didn’t know what they could do, but I felt like I had to let someone know,” she said.
Because the race was, at that point, still in the primaries, the DCCC had limited involvement in Kihuen’s campaign. But the second staffer informed Kihuen’s campaign manager, Dave Chase, of Samantha’s call after she had left the campaign. Chase confirmed to BuzzFeed News that someone at the DCCC called to say that the woman had quit because she felt “uncomfortable” around Kihuen, but he was not aware of the specifics of the allegations. He says he confronted Kihuen, who denied that anything improper had occurred.
Kihuen released a statement.
“The staff member in question was a valued member of my team. I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable,” he stated. “I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am. I was raised in a strong family that taught me to treat women with the utmost dignity and respect. I have spent my fifteen years in public service fighting for women’s equality, and I will continue to do so.”
He later added that he did not “recall any of the circumstances.”
His Democratic allies are turning on him. DCCC chairman Ben Ray Luján called on him to resign.
Even Nancy Pelosi is calling for his resignation.