The Republican representative who reportedly paid off a sexual harassment accuser with taxpayer money claimed Tuesday the woman “invited” his communication, going so far as to call her his “soul mate.”
Rep. Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, accused of inappropriate conduct by a former staffer, defended himself by saying he believed that his accuser was his “partner for life” and that he felt she “invited” the communication between the two, according to a New York Times interview.
“That I would find later that that was not something that she was comfortable with, really hurts me,” Meehan said. “This was a person who specifically invited communication with me so that she would be able to have the ability to be there for me.”
A former female staffer accused Meehan, who is married, of unwanted conduct, later accusing the representative of growing angry and vindictive after she filed a formal complaint against him, sources previously told The NYT. The House Ethics Committee is launching an investigation into the matter and plans on looking into whether Meehan paid off his accuser with taxpayer money from his congressional office fund.
Meehan made the rounds Tuesday, conducting various interviews with local Philadelphia news outlets to explain his side of the story. He told The Philadelphia Inquirer he felt his accuser was his “soul mate,” later explaining to WHYY that they were “kindred spirits” who were going through similar difficult situations.
Meehan added that the news of her dating another man seriously upset him, but any hostile actions from him should be attributed to a stressful legislative year. After the two resolved the situation, according to Meehan, he decided to write her a two-page letter expressing how his staffer was a “complete partner to me and you have brought me much happiness.”
A spokesperson for Meehan said called the payout “a settlement” while Meehan has called it a “severance agreement.” A lawyer for the former staffer has called on Meehan to stop discussing the case in public.
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