A former aide accused Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., of sexual harassment Friday, claiming he touched her twice before later making his intentions clear with an in-person conversation.
M. Reese Everson spoke at a press conference, saying that her Capitol Hill career ended abruptly after she left Scott' office without giving two weeks notice.
“I tell this story because I want women to have the courage to stand up and not be ashamed when they are railroaded,” she said.
Everson, an attorney and anti-sexual harassment advocate, alleged Scott first touched her in 2013 on the subway under Capitol Hill.
“I looked down, his hand was on my knee,” she said. Later, at an event with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, she said, “his hand remained on my lower back, I thought that was strange for someone who was my employer.”
Everson said she ignored the incidents until a conversation in Scott’s office about whether she would join him on a trip. Scott allegedly asked, “Are you going to flirt with me?” She allegedly said, “No, don’t flatter yourself,” attempting to use humor. “Anger flashed across his face,” she said.
During that office conversation, she said she realized “he is actually coming on to me, that is super weird, this guy is like 70 years old.”
The accusation against Scott comes after harassment claims ended the careers of Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. The four lawmakers announced resignations or retirements this month after women came forward.
Everson's claim is receiving significant scrutiny, however, in part because of her choice of conservative activist Jack Burkman to represent her.
Among other causes, Burkman, an attorney, has sought evidence in the unsolved murder of Seth Rich, the former Democratic National Committee staffer who features prominently in conspiracy theories about the release of DNC emails in last year’s election.
Everson emotionally described being unemployed, struggling to make ends meet after losing her job, and said “Mr. Burkman was there" and that “working for Mr. Burkman, I am not destitute.'
Scott’s office previously confirmed Everson was employed as a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow, but Scott said: “There have been no credible complaints that I’m aware of."
A spokesperson for Scott did not immediately supply a statement responding to Everson's press conference.
Questions of documentation loom large for the 13-term congressman's accuser.
A reporter pressed Everson to explain why she wrote in her book “The B.A.B.E.'S Guide to Winning in the Workplace: You Don't Have to Compromise” that Scott’s approach to her was non-physical.
Another journalist asked if she had evidence to show that she reported misconduct by Scott before she was terminated. She said she sent an email to the CBC Foundation, though she did not quote from or supply a copy of the communication.
Everson said she was wrongfully terminated by the House Financial Services Committee after leaving Scott’s office without giving a two-weeks notice.
'I was let go from the financial services committee... the chief of staff said, 'You have to go back and make things right',” she said. Everson said she recently dropped a complaint regarding her firing with the D.C. Commission on Human Rights in favor of pursuing litigation, though she did not specify against whom.
Although Everson did not accuse Scot by name before Friday, his identity was surmised as she teased her accusation in media interviews against an unnamed congressman. She appeared on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program on Nov. 15 but was a no-show at a Nov. 29 press conference where she was scheduled to accuse the congressman.
Burkman said he would like to see Scott leave office. "We call on Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia to resign immediately," he said.