|Winsome Packer with friends.|
Congressman Alcee Hastings has been hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a conservative group called Judicial Watch.
The merits of the case aren't known, but the plaintiff is quite a serious person. Her name is Winsome Packer, a Republican who was a policy adviser on the Helsinki Commission when Hastings chaired it.
A Jamaican-American, Packer is also the author of a novel titled A Personal Agenda
, about the "alienation, hostility and impropriety she experienced as a newcomer to Capitol Hill," and she served as George W. Bush's appointee to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. And she's proficient in Portuguese too. Read about her here
The 74-year-old Hastings calls the case ludicrous.
"I have never sexually harassed anyone," he said in a written statement. "In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, 'How bizarre!' I will win this lawsuit. That is a certainty. In a race with a lie, the truth always wins. And when the truth comes to light and the personal agendas of my accusers are exposed, I will be vindicated."
Nice touch incorporating the book title. Inside, see what Packer is alleging.
From the Associated Press:
The conservative legal group Judicial Watch is representing Winsome Packer in her sexual harassment claim against Hastings, a Florida Democrat, and the Helsinki Commission that he chaired. Packer served as the commission's staff representative in Vienna and said much of the harassment occurred when Hastings was in Europe on business for the commission, which advises on U.S. policy about security, human rights and other issues involving Europe.
Packer's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, said Hastings kept asking to stay at her apartment or get her to visit his hotel room, hugging her and making sexual comments including asking her what kind of underwear she was wearing.
Hastings, a 74-year-old serving his 10th term in the House, issued a written statement denying Packer's claims...
Packer had been a Republican staffer on Capitol Hill, but lost her job after Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 election. Her suit claimed that Hastings, who knew her through a friend of hers who worked in his office, invited her to apply to the commission but soon after her hiring made it clear he wanted a personal relationship.
Packer said she complained to her supervisors in Washington, the commission's counsel and aides to Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the commission's co-chairman. Cardin spokeswoman Sue Walitski said she couldn't comment on the case. Packer also complained to the House Ethics Committee. The panel did not act on her complaint, and she resigned as, she said, she developed stress-related health problems.
"What happened to me was no secret," Packer said at a news conference at Judicial Watch headquarters. "I was let down by the commission and the Congress."
She also complained to Hastings' chief of staff, Fred Turner, according to the suit.
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