news 9 months ago

Sex Harassment Investigation Prompts Move by Lawmaker

Newser — Michael Harthorne

Another lawmaker has announced a career shift in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. CNN reports Rep. Ruben Kihuen said Saturday he won't run for re-election in 2018.

The House Ethics Committee announced an investigation into the Democrat from Nevada on Friday over allegations of sexual harassment from two women. Kihuen denies the allegations against him but says they "would be a distraction" during a re-election campaign.

Despite calls to resign from Democratic leaders, the 37-year-old says he won't step down before the end of his first term in 2018, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"Due process and the presumption of innocence are bedrock legal principles which have guided our nation for centuries, and they should not be lost to unsubstantiated hearsay and innuendo," Kihuen says.

Kihuen was first accused earlier this month by a woman who says he asked her for dates and sex and grabbed her thighs while she was serving as finance director for his 2016 campaign.

A second, unnamed accuser spoke to the Nevada Independent this week. She says between 2013 and 2015 while Kihuen was a state senator, he touched her thighs or buttocks on three occasions and sent her hundreds of suggestive text messages, which she saved and showed to the Independent.

The messages include requests for the woman, a lobbyist, to sit on his lap during a hearing. In one message, he tells her his "day can't go on without knowing" what color here panties are.

In response to the allegations, Kihuen says he dated a number of women while a state senator. The woman, who says she ignored or rejected Kihuen's advances, denies they ever dated.

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