On Monday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) said he planned to pay back $84,000 in taxpayer funds he used to settle a 2014 sexual harassment claim from his former communications director, Lauren Greene, and Greene recounted how after accusing Farenthold of sexually harassing her, she was "blackballed" in Washington and still babysits for spare money as she works temp jobs in her native North Carolina. In a federal lawsuit, Greene said Farenthold had confided that he hadn't had sex with his wife in years, told another aide he had "sexual fantasies" and "wet dreams" about Greene, and fired Greene after she complained about the comments. Farenthold maintains he did nothing wrong.
Greene, 30, told her story to Politico and CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday. After graduating from college in 2009, Greene said, she moved to Washington to pursue a life in politics, started interning with a congressman from Oklahoma, was hired full-time, then moved to Farenthold's office in 2013. When she was promoted to communications director in 2014, that's when things started getting inappropriate. She "held out hope that ... it wasn't career suicide" to come forward, Greene told Politico, but it was, and she hasn't been able to find full-time work since, a situation she attributes to word of her harassment settlement following her south.
Even though she's now making $15 an hour at a temp job and has to babysit and get financial support from her family, she said, "it was the right thing to do to stand up for myself and so that's just something I take solace in." On CNN, Greene said accusing Farenthold "stagnated my career a bit," but "what is going on right now, it's more than a moment, I think it's a reckoning and we're having these conversations that have been needed to be had." Peter Weber