Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) apologized Sunday for evidently sexually harassing an Aflac lobbyist at a bar in 2017 and said he will not seek re-election or pursue any elected office after his term ends. Reed had been exploring a run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), currently under investigation for sexual harassment.
The former lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, said in a Washington Post article on Friday that Reed rubbed her back and unhooked her bra during a gathering at a Minneapolis pub on her first networking trip; she was 25, Reed was 45. Reed initially responded to the allegation by saying it was "not accurate." But in Sunday's statement, he said: "In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect, and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility."
Reed added that when the incident occurred, he was "struggling" and discovered he was "powerless over alcohol" when he sought treatment later that year. "This is in no way an excuse for anything I've done," he said, and he now plans to "dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions."
Reed is a co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in the House. "Since he was elected to Congress in 2010, Reed has cast himself as a champion of women's rights," the Post reports. Davis told the Post late Sunday that she is "grateful for Congressman Reed's reflection on his actions" and hopes "his words and actions will be an example for others who face similar allegations."