A former staffer claimed Jackson Lee fired her after she said a former employee of the CBC Foundation raped her.
Last week, reports came out that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) faces a lawsuit from a former staffer who claimed the congresswoman fired her after she said a former employee of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) raped her in 2015.
Jackson Lee has now resigned as CBC Foundation chairwoman and stepped down temporarily from a House Judiciary subcommittee chairmanship.
From The New York Times:
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s board had given Ms. Jackson Lee an ultimatum late last week after the claims became public: step down as chairwoman or face a vote of removal as soon as this week, according to an official familiar with the conversations who was not authorized to discuss them.
Other liberal advocacy groups are asking the congresswoman to step aside from leadership positions as the case unfolds. The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence said it could not continue to work with Ms. Jackson Lee as the lead sponsor of legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. And fellow Democratic lawmakers had been prepared to force her from her chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee’s crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations subcommittee.
In the lawsuit, a woman identified only as Jane Doe accused the CBC Foundation’s intern coordinator at the time Damien Jones raped her in 2015.
When Doe went to work with Jackson Lee in 2017, she found out that the congresswoman wanted to hire Jones:
Jane Doe learned that Jones might be hired in Jackson Lee’s office, and she told [chief of staff Glenn] Rushing that she had a “prior situation” with Jones and would not be comfortable working together. Rushing allegedly told her that he understood and didn’t end up hiring Jones “because he had a situation with CBCF and they could not have him working in the office as a result.”
In early March 2018, Jane Doe told Rushing that she had learned “more about her case involving Mr. Jones and CBCF” and was planning to go forward with legal action, according to the complaint. Jane Doe said she asked to speak with Jackson Lee, and Rushing agreed, but no meeting took place. On March 29, she said she was told she was being fired because of budget issues.
Jackson Lee’s office denied the allegations:
In a statement, Ms. Jackson Lee’s office highlighted her long record supporting workplace safety and nondiscrimination laws, including a measure applying those standards to Congress. Citing the legal proceedings, her office said it could not discuss specific details of the case but asserted that she would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
“The congresswoman is confident that, once all of the facts come to light, her office will be exonerated of any retaliatory or otherwise improper conduct and this matter will be put to rest,” the statement said.
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