Jan. 21 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania Republican who is taking a lead role in Congress in fighting sexual harassment, settled his own case and used thousands in taxpayers’ money to do so, according to reports.
Rep. Pat Meehan’s (R-Pa.) office on Saturday denied allegations that he harassed the former aide who received the settlement, which came from his congressional office budget.
The congressman in April, joined other colleagues in launching the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, a task force designed to bring both parties together to advance legislative proposals and address sexual violence.
Meehan’s settlement with his former aide comes before a vote expected this month on a bipartisan bill to prevent members settling harassment claims with money from their office budgets.
According to a report, the former aide filed a complaint after Meehan, 62, professed his romantic desire for her both in person and via a handwritten letter. When the young aide did not reciprocate, Meehan “grew hostile.”
The former aide soon began working from home and eventually left her position, later reaching a confidential agreement with Meehan that includes an undisclosed amount of money.
Meehan spokesman John Elizandro said the congressman denies the allegations and has called on the former aide to waive the confidentiality agreement to “ensure a full and open airing of all the facts.”
Alexis Ronickher, the former aide’s attorney, pushed back, saying Meehan’s statement was “a desperate effort to preserve his career” because he is the one who “demanded” confidentiality and is only speaking out now that it has become public.