Rep. Patrick Meehan, R- Pa., acknowledged Tuesday that he instructed an aide of his that she was “a soul mate,” however denied that his actions had been thought-about harassment.
The married Republican congressman, who mentioned he intends to run for reelection, instructed The Philadelphia Inquirer that he “developed an affection” for his youthful aide, however by no means pursued a romantic relationship together with her.
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Nonetheless, Meehan, 62, admitted he reacted “selfishly” when he discovered the longtime aide was in a severe relationship with one other man. The congressman mentioned that he lashed out on the aide in his workplace, which he attributed to a tense interval round Home votes on well being care laws.
“Generally I’ve the tendency to lash out to others on the employees … and also you go hardest on those that you just care probably the most about,” Meehan instructed the newspaper.
Meehan, in response to The Inquirer, mentioned he felt “invited” to specific his emotions to the lady, and invited her out for ice cream. The 2 hugged, “possibly longer that night time than wanted to be,” Meehan mentioned.
He handwrote the seven-year aide a letter that night time, which The Inquirer revealed, wishing her properly and thanking God “for placing you into my life and for all that we now have seen and skilled and genuinely shared collectively.”
The girl texted Meehan the subsequent day thanking him “on your very sort phrases and on your friendship,” in response to textual content messages that Meehan’s camp shared with reporters.
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“I didn’t search a relationship,” Meehan mentioned. “What I did was attempt to talk that I used to be combating the concept I would if I … wasn’t in a position to preserve issues within the correct perspective.”
The New York Occasions reported Saturday that the previous aide filed a misconduct grievance final summer time, and Meehan allegedly used 1000’s of in taxpayer funds to settle the grievance.
Home Speaker Paul Ryan known as for an investigation by the Home Ethics Committee, and instructed Meehan he ought to repay the general public cash. A spokesperson for Ryan added the four-term congressman would step down from the committee.
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Meehan’s workplace has declined to reply questions relating to how a lot taxpayer cash was used within the settlement, however, following the report, his workplace mentioned, “All through his profession [Meehan] has all the time handled his colleagues, female and male, with the utmost respect and professionalism.”
The accuser’s lawyer, Alexis Ronickher, has mentioned the allegations are “well-grounded” and a “severe sexual harassment declare.” Ronickher additionally mentioned Meehan demanded confidentiality to settle the grievance.
Meehan mentioned he would repay the cash — which he known as a “severance,” not a “settlement” — if the Home Ethics Committee finds he harassed the previous aide. He’s mentioned he adopted the recommendation of Home legal professionals and Ethics Committee steering.
The revelation comes amid a nationwide reckoning over sexual misconduct within the office. 4 members of Congress both have resigned or mentioned they gained’t run once more amid complaints from ladies about sexual misconduct.
The Related Press contributed to this report.