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Rep. Tom Reed

Photo by BrookingsInst is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Republican Rep. Tom Reed said yesterday that he would not run for re-election or for any other office in New York in 2022, an announcement that came two days after the Washington Post published a story where a former lobbyist named Nicolette Davis accused Reed of sexually harassing her at a Minneapolis restaurant in 2017.

Davis, who was a 25-year-old insurance company lobbyist at the time, recounted that she had briefly met Reed earlier on the day in question during a networking trip. Davis says she went to a restaurant with several of her colleagues later that evening that Reed also happened to be at, and she wound up sitting next to him at a table.

In the words of reporter Beth Reinhard, Davis says that the congressman put his "hand outside her blouse, briefly fumbled with her bra before unhooking it by pinching the clasp," which left her "stunned" and afraid to speak. Reinhard continued, "He moved his hand to her thigh, inching upward." Reed only stopped, according to Davis, after she asked another person at the table for help, who then "pull[ed] the congressman away from the table and out of the restaurant."

Davis showed the paper a text from that night in which she told her friend and coworker, Jessica Strieter, "A drunk congressman is rubbing my back," and later added, "HELP HELP." An unnamed witness also told Reinhard that "Reed was visibly intoxicated and put his hand on Davis' back before being escorted from the restaurant while the rest of the group remained."

Strieter says that Davis told her more about the incident after the trip, adding, "She was really shaken by it." Davis' supervisor at the time, Brad Knox, also said that he remembered Davis telling him about what happened. Knox added that he asked Davis if she wanted to file a complaint with the House Ethics Committee but says that she decided not to. Davis herself says she now regrets not pursuing that option, but explained, "I was afraid I would become 'that girl' who made a mess of things for a member, and that no one would ever want to associate with me."

The Post contacted Reed, who had been mulling a bid for governor of New York, with a list of questions for the story, to which he responded, "This account of my actions is not accurate." On Sunday, though, Reed published a statement apologizing to Davis and announcing that he would not be on the ballot for anything next year.

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This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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