Brady recalls witnessing sexual assault of congresswoman

Rep. Bob Brady, a sponsor of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the congressional workplace, spoke about an incident he witnessed firsthand.

PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA

Sexual harassment has certainly been one of the main topics of conversation in 2017, with people from all walks of life having been personally affected. These heinous acts can take place anywhere, including the halls of Congress, says Rep. Bob Brady (D-1st dist.).

Brady is the ranking member on the Committee on House Administration and is a sponsor of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the congressional workplace alongside Reps. Gregg Harper, the chairman, Barbara Comstock and Jackie Speier.

The Committee on House Administrations first held a meeting on “Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Congressional Workplace” on Nov. 14, but what Brady made public to the joint committee on Nov. 29 garnered national attention.

Brady recalled a situation that he said took place either “3–4 or 2–3 years ago” when he witnessed a colleague being sexually assaulted by another member.

“I personally witnessed an incident back in my purse, where I stay back in the corner there, of a Congress lady that was leaning back, talking to me and a congressman walked by and groped her from behind.” said Brady. “I reached over and lucky for him, I just couldn’t grab him. I wanted to chase him down the aisle, but the Congress lady as classy as she is, says, ‘No, don’t do that, you may get into a little trouble, we will take care of him.’ ”

Brady added, “And he got taken care of pretty well.”

Brady said the congressman who committed this assault ended up leaving office, but not for this specific incident.

This resolution, “Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Congressional Workplace,” would require all House members, officers, employees, interns, detailees and fellows of the U.S. House of Representatives to complete an anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training program during each session of Congress.

“Right now, it’s online classes for staff only,” said Brady. “We have to extend it to members, too, and face to face (meetings).”

This proposed resolution would do just that and include other guidelines.

The following statement was provided in a press release from the Committee on House Administration.

“Each individual must complete the training within 90 days of the session. For new hires, staff must complete the training within 90 days of their hire date during the session. For the current 115th Congress, each individual shall complete the training no later than 180 days after the second session of Congress begins.”

“Each individual will provide their certificate of completion to the Committee on House Administration and the training must be repeated every session of Congress.”

Although there is no definitive timeline on when everything will be concluded for this resolution, it is a priority for members of Congress.

“We want to make sure we fast track this one,” said Brady. “We’re expected to do something quickly, as quickly as possible.”

This current resolution has bipartisan support in both chambers on Congress.

The Committee on House Administration is set to hold its next hearing on these current rules and the Congressional Accountability Act on Dec. 7. ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com