Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday said she was sexually harassed when she interned in Congress more than 40 years ago.
The Missouri Democrat made the disclosure to reporters when asked if she thinks the environment is changing on Capitol Hill, given increased calls by lawmakers for mandated training to prevent sexual harassment.
"Well I don't know, I will tell you I interned here in college and I was definitely sexually harassed as an intern in Congress back in the summer of 1974," McCaskill said, standing just off the Senate floor. "I was definitely sexually harassed."
McCaskill has said before that she was harassed when she was a legislator in Missouri's statehouse, but the harassment she experienced as an intern in Washington appears to be a new disclosure.
Asked later if she was harassed by a fellow staffer or member of the U.S. House, McCaskill didn't want to say.
"I'm not going to comment as to details of it, but suffice it to say that it happened more than once from more than one person," McCaskill said.
She never reported the harassment and noted that she didn't report the harassment she experienced in the Missouri statehouse.
"Because whenever you're in a position where you have very little to no power, it is very hard to imagine yourself taking on somebody who is very powerful and the system that made him powerful," she said. "So it was something that felt like I had to choose between my career and coming forward."
McCaskill said that since being elected to the Senate, her colleagues have shown her nothing but respect.
"But that doesn't mean young people aren't being victimized," she continued. "That doesn't mean that there aren't still problems. So I think what we're doing now is we are turning a page in this country and hopefully empowering young people to realize just because the person who has treated you inappropriately has more power than you do it will be OK if you come forward.
"And that's the environment we have to foster here in the Senate, is that everyone feels comfortable coming forward if they're in a situation that they're being harassed or being inappropriately touched or talked to," McCaskill said.
McCaskill said she hasn't heard about any sitting senators engaging in harassment.