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Democratic congresswoman comes under fire for delayed firing of chief of staff accused of abuse

Democratic Rep. Elizabeth Esty (Conn.) is facing scrutiny over her handling of abuse allegations made against her former chief of staff. In a series of interviews this week, Esty acknowledged paying a severance to Tony Baker, her former chief of staff, after another one of her staff members accused him of verbal and physical abuse.

Baker was not dismissed until three months after Esty learned of the allegations from the young female staffer, whom The Washington Post identified as Anna Kain. Kain reportedly informed Esty of a threatening voicemail she'd received from Baker, whom she had previously dated, in which he purportedly said, "You better f--king reply to me, or I will f--king kill you."

But Baker was not dismissed for three months, emails obtained by the Post show. Instead of firing him, Esty reportedly contacted personal lawyers and enlisted a close friend to probe Baker's background. She also spoke with Kain, the Post reports, and Kain told the paper that she informed Esty of physical abuse and sexual harassment at Baker's hands.

Esty admitted to The Connecticut Post that she'd arranged for a $5,000 severance for Baker upon his dismissal, which she said she has paid back in full to the U.S. Treasury, and acknowledged that she sent Baker packing with a "limited" recommendation letter he could use to find future employment. She also said that before he was fired, she had confronted Baker about his substance abuse and the allegations against him.

She, however, denied knowing Kain and Baker had been in a relationship, let alone a dangerous one, but conceded that she was "mistaken" in her handling of the situation, the paper wrote. Read more at The Connecticut Post.