New York Republican MP Tom Reed was accused by a former lobbyist of rubbing her back while drunk, unhooking her bra and moving his hand over her thigh after a day of ice fishing in Minnesota at an Irish bar in 2017. This was the result of a new report on Friday.
The Washington Post allegation against Reed by today’s U.S. Army Lt. Nicolette Davis, arrives as Reed – co-chair of the so-called bipartisan problem-solving caucus in Congress – is considering running for governor of New York next year.
Current Governor Andrew Cuomo has been accused by more than half a dozen women, including a current employee, of sexually molesting them or of otherwise inappropriately touching or talking to them.
And Reed – who denied Davis’ report as “incorrect” – was one of those who harshly criticized Cuomo and called for the Democratic governor to resign or be charged.
The congressman, who represents New York’s 23rd district, has campaigned for years on behalf of women who have alleged sexual assault and misconduct.
“These incidents of sexual harassment and abuse patterns are heinous and have absolutely no place in our society, let alone in the highest levels of government. Such behavior is worrying and unacceptable,” Reed said of Cuomo last month.
Cuomo has refused to act inappropriately against women and has refused to step down despite leading Democrats calling for it.
A spokesman for Aflac, the insurance company Davis was lobbying at the time of the incident, told CNBC: “Aflac takes these allegations very seriously and above all values the safety and dignity of our employees.”
“When this matter was raised to officers and colleagues who were absent from the event, we immediately provided support and advice to Nicolette so that she could personally determine how to proceed to bring this deeply troubling experience to light.” said the spokesman.
“Aflac continues to support Nicolette 100% as we strongly condemn any form of abuse or harassment.”
Davis told The Post that she was 25 in 2017 when she felt the then 45-year-old Reed’s hand on her back as she sat next to him in a Minneapolis pub after an ice fishing event and similar beneficial activities the campaign committee of the then representative. Erik Paulsen, a Republican from Minnesota.
She told the newspaper that Reed looked drunk during the fishing event and that he slipped and fell on the ice.
Later, when she was sitting next to him at dinner, she told The Post that Reed’s hands began to wander.
“A drunk congressman rubs my back,” said Davis after texting a staff member that evening. “HELP, HELP.”
The Post reported that Davis said she was frozen in fear but asked a person who was in her right to help. This man pulled Reed away from the table and took him out of the pub, she told the paper.
“Davis’ report of Reed’s actions in 2017 was supported by a person sitting at the table that evening,” the Post reported.
“The person said The Post Reed was visibly drunk and put his hand on Davis’ back before being led out of the restaurant while the rest of the group stayed. This person spoke on condition of anonymity and carried out possible career implications at.”
The paper also quoted the woman Davis posted from the bar, Jessica Strieter Elting, who said Davis described how Reed touched her and unhooked her bra. Strieter Elting heads Aflac’s Washington political affairs team.
Brad Knox, a senior vice president at Aflac who was an advisor to the company at the time, told The Post that he recalled Davis telling him that Reed drank and reversed an item of their clothes.
“I wanted to cry because nobody should be exposed to this, especially not a new young lobbyist,” Knox told the newspaper.
Reed’s office issued a statement to CNBC: “This report of my actions is inaccurate,” Reed said of Davis’ allegations. Reed also said, “I stand by my record” for voting on women’s issues.
Davis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNBC.
A spokesman for the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Did not immediately respond to an email asking for comment.