‘Smear campaign’

Website outs women who anonymously accused congressman of sexual harassment

Ruben Kihuen (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Two women who anonymously accused former congressman Ruben Kihuen of sexual harassment last year have reportedly had their identities exposed on a website supporting Kihuen’s new campaign for a seat on the Las Vegas city council.

Kihuen was forced to step down from his seat in congress last year after a House Ethics Committee investigation concluded that he had made “persistent and unwanted” advances towards three women. And now his attempt to return to local politics in Las Vegas has been thrown into turmoil by what appears to be a disturbing attempt to attack the credibility of his three accusers through a website. The website, which contains numerous inaccuracies, includes names and photographs of three women who it claimed accused Kihuen of sexual harassment.

“I cannot possibly understand how anyone has enough evil in their heart to publicly out harassment victims and push a smear campaign against them,” said Kihuen’s former campaign staffer Samantha Register, the first woman to accuse the politician of harassment. “I’ve been willing to share my story on the record using my full name, but the other two women weren’t and it’s disgusting that anyone would publish their identity without their consent. We’re not celebrities. We’re private citizens trying to move on with our lives, which is increasingly difficult when Mr. Kihuen and his allies continue to publicly attack us.”

“If Mr. Kihuen and his allies are trying to intimidate me into silence they’re wasting their time. It’s not going to work.”

Register initially told Buzzfeed that Kihuen had repeatedly propositioned her for sex and touched her thighs against her will. In January, she chose to publicly come forward, writing in an article for The Nevada Independent that the politician had threatened to “destroy” her in retaliation for her complaint.

In a statement to Twitter posted on Wednesday morning, Kihuen claimed he had been unaware of the website and that attorneys for his campaign would be asking “its author to take it down immediately.”

Read the full story at Buzzfeed.

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