AUSTIN, Texas - A story in the news and opinion website, The Daily Beast, accuses two controversial Texas state senators of sexual harassment at the state capitol.
Mostly unnamed sources said in the article that Senators Boris Miles-(D) Houston, and Carlos Uresti-(D) San Antonio, engaged in inappropriate touches or comments toward women at the capitol over a period of years.
The story includes an interview with an intern identified only as “Lauren,” who says in May 2013, Miles approached her outside an Austin nightclub, extended a hand filled with cash, and asked her:
“B***h, you want to f*** with me tonight?”
She said she replied, “No, thank you,” and walked away.
An unnamed legislator is quoted as saying the woman told him about the incident at the time and that on a separate occasion, he was present when Miles yelled catcalls at women on an Austin street.
Here is a statement from Miles on the allegations:
"I have had the privilege of representing the constituents of District 146 and Senate District 13 for over 10 years.
"Because I’ve shown myself to be an effective voice of the people, I have made powerful enemies who will go to any length to destroy and disrupt my service. I will not continue to address anonymous accusations that attack my personal and professional character as an effective lawmaker.
"Sexual harassment is a serious offense and I plan to join my colleagues in the Senate in developing policy that allows all people due process and assurances they may work effectively in a fair and safe environment.
"The people expect me to do my best and I will continue to fight for them until they decide otherwise. I will not be deterred."
Miles was indicted in 2008 on two counts of deadly conduct involving a gun. He was acquitted on both counts in 2009.
In a written statement, Uresti said he will support implementing comprehensive sexual harassment policy and training in the Senate as soon as possible, saying:
"First and foremost, the experiences of women who come forward should always be valued, and I do not take these accusations lightly. I whole-heartedly apologize if I have inadvertently made anyone, male or female, feel uncomfortable or demeaned, as that would never be my intention. The specific instances described in yesterday's Daily Beast article are at best unfounded and, in at least one case, completely erroneous. I have provided the author with Facebook posts of my wife and I together during the same night as one of the anonymous accusations. The other instances would have happened over a decade ago and are simply too old for me to provide specific evidence to the contrary. Moving forward, I pledge to be more cautious in my interactions with men and women, staff, reporters, and lobbyists alike. Sexual harassment has no place in the Capitol or any workplace, and I will be joining my colleagues to implement a comprehensive sexual harassment policy and trainings in the Texas Senate as soon as possible."
In Houston, the Harris County Republican chairman, Paul Simpson, called for a criminal investigation and possible censure of Miles.
Texas State Sen. Sylvia Garcia issued the following statement continuing her call for independent investigations for allegations of sexual assault and harassment by state lawmakers and employees of the Texas Legislature:
"I find the charges reported to be very alarming and I commend the brave individuals who have come forward about their experiences in the Texas Capitol and across the country. It's a sad state of affairs when people feel their only option is talking to the press. There is no excuse for sexual harassment, discrimination, abuse or bullying. This is why I have called for independent investigations. Following the examples of others, I am now calling for a hotline to report abuse in Texas government to ensure there is an independent and transparent path to justice for people who have been harassed or assaulted and due process for all parties involved."
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