Female Dem says at least two current members engaged in sexual harassment


"From comments like 'Are you going to be a good girl?,' to harassers exposing their genitals, to victims having their private parts grabbed on the House floor, women and men have trusted me with their stories", Speier said.

The hearing was scheduled as a wave of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault come forward with accusations against powerful figures in Hollywood, media and politics.

Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell support ramping up sexual harassment training, as does House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The lawmaker, whom Comstock did not name, remains in office.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who revealed in October that she was sexually harassed as a congressional staffer decades ago, said that since she went public with her story, she has been told of two sitting members of Congress who have allegedly engaged in sexual harassment.

"There is a new recognition of this problem and the need for change of culture that looks the other way because of who the offenders are", she said.

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It comes amid growing calls for an overhaul of the way Congress handles allegations of sexual harassment, including a letter signed by more than 1,500 former Hill staffers who want to see reform for what they say are "inadequate" sexual harassment policies in Congress. At that point, he chose to expose himself.

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.

Ryan called the hearing an "important step" in efforts to combat sexual harassment and added, "As we work with the Administration, Ethics, and Rules committees to implement mandatory training, we will continue our review to make sure the right policies and resources are in place to prevent and report harassment". The Senate passed a resolution last week mandating such training for members and aides.

There is now no requirement for sexual harassment training in the House of Representatives, but individual offices may voluntarily have their staffs attend trainings offered by the Office of Compliance.

She also noted that cases between staff members and lawmakers are "very rare" and that mediation cases are overwhelmingly between two staff members. All they ask in return as staff members is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment.