After the New York Times reported Saturday that U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan had used taxpayer money to settle a harassment complaint brought by a former aide, both Meehan and the lawyer for the aide issued dueling statements. Here they are.
Congressman Meehan denies the allegations. Throughout his career he has always treated his colleagues male and female with the utmost respect and professionalism. In this case, the employee, represented by counsel, made certain assertions of inappropriate behavior which were investigated. With respect to resolving any allegation made against the office, Congressman Meehan would only act with advice of House Counsel and consistent with House Ethics Committee guidance. Every step of the process was handled ethically and appropriately. At Congressman Meehan’s request, the congressional attorneys handling the case have asked the complainant’s counsel to release all parties from the confidentiality requirements of the agreement to ensure a full and open airing of all the facts. The Congressman is hopeful that they will agree to this request for full transparency.
Rep. Meehan believes there must be real reform to the process for resolving complaints so that those who are truly wronged are given a fair forum to be heard and vindicated, and those accused are provided with an ability to respond to baseless accusations. The public to whom elected officials are answerable must be provided with a true sense of the facts and circumstances involved.
Statement from Alexis Ronickher, lawyer for accuser:
In an effort to preserve his career, Rep. Meehan has now asked my client to waive confidentiality so he can deny well-grounded allegations knowing full well that his former staffer prizes her privacy above all else. Mr. Meehan demanded confidentiality to resolve the matter, presumably so that the public would never know that he entered into a settlement of a serious sexual harassment claim.
Now that it has become public — due to no fault of my client’s — he has flouted his legal obligations and is speaking publicly. We will not allow our client to be victimized twice by this man. If he further violates the confidentiality strictures he insisted upon and he agreed to, he will leave our client no choice but to seek legal recourse on her behalf.