We're now seeing that, for too long,
men in positions of power have gotten away with abuse due to a complicit system that protects predators and a culture of fear where victims don't feel safe speaking up. A cultural shift is happening in the post-Weinstein world, and in this new world order, even the people in the higher spheres of government aren't untouchable anymore thanks to brave women who are sharing their stories, intrepid reporting, and a willingness from the public to believe survivors.
Ahead, we're keeping a list of all the elected officials in Washington, D.C. who have been accused of
sexual misconduct. We'll continue to update this story if more allegations come out.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Rep. Patrick Meehan The allegations:
Rep. Meehan was accused of
sexually harassing a former aide
who was decades younger and looked up to him as a father figure. After the woman began a serious relationship with someone else, Meehan allegedly tried to confess his feelings, though they were unrequited. The woman says the Republican became hostile as a result, which led to her filing a formal complaint and eventually leaving her position. Eventually, Meehan's office paid an undisclosed amount to the aide as part of a confidential agreement. Meehan denies the claims.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced
Meehan was removed from his position at the House Ethics Committee
and that there will be an investigation into the allegations. Meehan should also repay the taxpayer funds used for the settlement, Ryan said. In late January, Meehan announced
he wouldn't seek re-election
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Rep. Ruben Kihuen The allegations:
Two women have accused Rep. Kihuen of sexual harassment. A former campaign staffer alleges that Kihuen, a freshman congressman,
sexually harassed her
continuously during the 2016 election. A female lobbyist came forward in mid-December, alleging
Kihuen made several unwanted sexual advances
to her and groped her on three separate occasions while he was a Nevada state senator.
In response to the allegations, Kihuen said: "I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable." Several Democratic leaders have
asked him to resign
, but he has said he will not step down from his position. In mid-December, the House Ethics Committee announced
it was launching an investigation
into the allegations. Kihuen said he would cooperate with the investigation, but
won't seek reelection in 2018
Photo: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call.
Rep. Alcee Hastings The allegations:
A former staffer accused
Rep. Hastings of sexually harrasing her
repeatedly for over two years while she worked at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. She also alleged he threatened to fire her after she resisted his advances. The woman sued Hastings and the commission, and the case was settled in 2014 for $220,000.
Hastings denies the allegations and says he wasn't aware of the taxpayer-funded settlement until the story about the payment was reported in early December. (He was removed from the lawsuit in 2012.) As of mid-December,
Hastings hadn't been asked to resign
by the Democratic leadership.
Photo: Larry French/Getty Images.
Rep. Blake Farenthold The allegations:
Rep. Farenthold's former communications director
on grounds of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and creating a hostile work environment. They settled the case, and she received a $84,000 payout.
Farenthold said he "didn't do anything wrong," but will
pay back the settlement
money to taxpayers. The House Ethics Committee has
reopened an investigation
into the allegations. In mid-December, he announced
he will not seek reelection in 2018.
Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images.
Rep. Trent Franks The allegations:
Two female aides said Rep. Franks created an uncomfortable workplace environment by asking them
if they wanted to be surrogates
and bear his child. The staffers allege they were concerned that
Franks was asking to impregnate them
by having sexual relations with him.
Franks admitted the allegations are true, but said he had never "physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff." The House Ethics Committee announced it planned to investigate the allegations, so Franks said he would step aside. His resignation was originally supposed to take effect on January 31, 2018. But one day after making that announcement, Franks said he would
due to his wife being admitted in the hospital for an "ongoing ailment."
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Images.
Photo: Olivier DoulieryPool/Getty Images.
Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Images.
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. The allegations:
At least four women have claimed Rep. Conyers groped them or made sexual advances and inappropriate remarks toward them. One of his accusers
received a $27,000 settlement
The aftermath: Conyers resigned
several weeks after news of the allegations broke, and endorsed his son John Conyers III to succeed him. His lawyer Arnold Reed has said Conyers is not planning to pay back Congress for his past settlement, since
ethics attorneys "cleared" the payout.