Republican congressman Patrick Meehan is speaking out about the aide with whom he settled a sexual misconduct claim using taxpayer money, claiming that she “specifically invited” his advances “so that she would be able to have the ability to be there for me.” Meehan, 62, a married father of three, had, until recently, taken a leading role in investigating sexual harassment claims against his colleagues as part of the House Ethics Committee. On Monday, the House Ethics committee announced that it was investigating Meehan to determine whether he had “misused official resources” to reach the settlement with his former aide.
According to The New York Times, the aide, who was decades younger than Meehan, filed a sexual misconduct complaint after Meehan became hostile to her for rebuffing his romantic overtures and forced her out of her job. In an interview, Meehan admitted that when the aide told him last year that she had started a relationship with someone around her own age, he “didn’t respond to it as well as I would like to have.” He further claimed that a handwritten letter he sent to her, in which he described her as “a complete partner to me,” was meant as an apology and as a sign of respect.
“That I would find later that that was not something that she was comfortable with, really hurts me,” Meehan added. He elaborated on how he viewed his rapport with the aide, who has not been identified, in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I was a happily married man and I was not interested in a relationship, particularly not any sexual relationship, but we were soul mates,” he said. “I think that the idea of soul mate is that sort of person that you go through remarkable experiences together.”
House speaker Paul Ryan has said that Meehan should repay the amount of his settlement to taxpayers, a resolution that Meehan said he was prepared to follow up on “only if found to be guilty” by the House Ethics Committee. Meehan says that he expects to be found innocent since he “didn’t do anything wrong,” and disputed even that he had paid a settlement — describing the payment instead as “a severance agreement.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.