04 April, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
Some Connecticut Democrats are calling for their embattled colleague U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty to step down for not protecting female staffers who say they experienced violence, death threats and sexual harassment by her former chief of staff. Esty, who was facing calls to resign from prominent CT politicians from both parties, wrote in a Facebook post that she had decided it was in the best interest of her constituents and her family to retire from Congress at the end of the year.
Earlier on Monday Esty had asked the House of Ethics Committee to review the issue and later dismissed Baker after receiving an investigation report on his behaviour.
Esty, who was first elected to the 5th Congressional District seat six years ago, has apparently rejected the advice of top Democratic Party leaders who urged her to hold a news conference Monday to answer all questions about the sexual harassment scandal in her office.
A number of CT elected officials called on Esty to resign following the revelation about the sexual harassment case in her office. By his last day on August 12, according to documents Esty provided to The Post, he and Esty had co-written a positive recommendation letter he could use in a job search and signed a legal document preventing her from disparaging him or discussing why he left. Esty has been a vocal advocate for stronger gun laws but has been mostly unable to pass any new federal legislation since the 2012 shooting.
The Washington Post reported last Friday that Baker was accused of physically abusing and sexually harassing Anna Kain, a former Esty aide that he once dated.
"I can only hope that my actions moving forward and over a lifetime of recovery can prove that I am a better man than I was during the time that I worked on Capitol Hill", Mr. Baker said in a statement provided by Mr. Ricci on Monday.
Kain declined a one-on-one meeting with Sandler, arranged by Esty, without her lawyer present.
Esty said in a statement Monday: "In the bad situation in my office, I could have and should have done better".
That's when she hired a new chief of staff and instituted mandatory harassment trainings for her staff, the letter states. Abuse and harassment occur in congressional offices far too often, and this problem extends beyond members of Congress themselves.
"The truth is, too many facts about how this incident was handled fall short of appropriate standards for responsible and responsive leadership", said Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who had not publicly called for her to resign. Esty kept Baker on her payroll for three months after learning of the accusations against him, CNN has confirmed.
State Rep. Dave Yaccarino, R-North Haven, expressed his support for Esty's decision, but noted that she had been "pressured" into making the call.
Esty told the network that when she learned of the death threat, she immediately demanded that Baker go through counseling, but only later did she learn it "was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern of behavior that victimized numerous women on my staff". According to the Connecticut Post, Baker also received $5,000 in severance, which Esty said she repaid to the US Treasury.
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