Paul Ryan orders mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff
15 November 2017, 12:40 | Erica Roy
At hearing on sexual harassment in Congress, Virginia Rep. Comstock tells story of sitting member exposing himself to staffer
The congresswoman also said she had heard of victims "having their private parts grabbed on the House floor".
Years before she was elected to Congress, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) was a U.S. House of Representatives staffer and said she was sexually harassed on the job.
"Going forward, the House will adopt a policy of mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training for all Members and staff", he said in a statement.
Earlier in the hearing, Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia said a former staffer told her that a Congressman asked a staffer to bring some materials to his residence, greeted her at the door wearing a towel and exposed himself after he invited her inside.
She said that when she was just starting her career in politics, the chief of staff in her office sexually assaulted her.
"What are we doing here for women right now", she added, "who are dealing with someone like that?" A petition calling for Congress to make training mandatory has gained more than 1,500 signatures from former Hill staffers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have now called on him to drop out of the race, while the editorial board of the Alabama Media Group branded him "grossly unfit for office". Tuesday's hearing, held to review Congress' policies regarding sexual harassment, detailed a convoluted process for reporting such incidents that often discourages accusers from coming forward.
"Many of us in Congress know what it's like, because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long", she said in an October video encouraging other staffers to tell their stories.
Speier has introduced legislation to require annual sexual harassment awareness training for lawmakers and staff, who would have to file a certificate of completion with the House Ethics Committee.
As for Moore, he has denied the allegations against him, but his support among mainstream Republicans has plummeted one month before the December 12 special election.
"If someone wants to form a complaint they have to go through a month of legal counseling".
Between 1997 and 2014, a little known Congressional fund paid out $15.2 million to 235 people who made sexual harassment claims in Congress. If a member of Congress has been accused, they receive a House lawyer to represent them for free while the accuser does not receive free counsel.
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