PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Republican congressman from Pennsylvania has resigned after settling a former aide’s sexual harassment complaint with taxpayer money.
Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., announced Friday he is resigning from Congress. He previously said he would not seek reelection in the midterms.
Meehan said in a statement that he felt he would’ve been exonerated of the allegations but didn’t want to put his staff through an investigation.
“While I do believe I would be exonerated of any wrongdoing, I also did not want to put my staff through the rigors of an Ethics Committee investigation and believed it was best for them to have a head start on new employment rather than being caught up in an inquiry. And since I have chosen to resign, the inquiry will not become a burden to taxpayers and committee staff,” said Meehan.
Meehan said he will reimburse the U.S. Treasury $39,000 “for the severance payment that was made from my office account.”
Meehan, who is married, said in January that he never harassed her or pursued a romantic relationship.
“My wife is the woman I love and she’s been remarkable through this,” said Meehan during an interview with CBS3.
The Republican congressman admits he called a former female staffer a soul mate.
“I did not sexually harass this former female staffer,” Meehan told Eyewitness News.
The congressman gave CBS3 a handwritten letter he sent to the unnamed woman, congratulating her on a new relationship with a man. He says he learned of that relationship over ice cream with the woman last year.
The former aide made the complaint last summer to the congressional Office of Compliance after Meehan became hostile toward her when she did not reciprocate his romantic interest, and she left the job, The New York Times reported in January. The Times did not identify the accuser and said she did not speak to the newspaper.