Another US Congressman to resign over sexual harassment claim

Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) Another US Congressman has announced his resignation after being put under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for suggesting surrogacy to two of his female staffers.

“I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable,” Republican Trent Franks, one of the House’s most ardent social conservatives, said in a statement on Thursday.

“I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”

Franks made this clarification “given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks”, reports Efe news.

Representative for Arizona since 2003, Franks admitted in his statement that he and his wife “long struggled with infertility” and experienced three miscarriages; hence they have already resorted to surrogacy to conceive their two children, who are twins and were born in 2008.

After that, they “continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling” and due to his familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, he “clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others”.

Before the announcement of his resignation, which will take effect on January 31, 2018, the House Committee on Ethics had announced the launch of a probe against him for having been “engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment”.

Also on Thursday, Democratic Senator Al Franken, accused of kissing and touching at least eight women without their consent, also announced his resignation.

Earlier this week, another Democratic congressman, John Conyers, announced that he will not run for re-election in the 2018 election after more than 50 years in the Legislature due to another series of allegations of sexual abuse.

With the resignations of Franks, Franken and Conyers, the wave of allegations of sexual abuse, which surfaced months ago in the US with the “Me Too” movement, has its first effects in Congress after having convulsed Hollywood.

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