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The Captiol dome is highlighted by the early morning. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

One current and three former female lawmakers say they have been harassed or subjected to hostile sexual comments by fellow members of Congress, AP's Erica Werner and Juliet Linderman write.

Why it matters: The accounts, part of a torrent of revelations following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, raise "troubling questions about the boys' club environment in Congress where male lawmakers can feel empowered to target not only staffers but even their own peers ..."

"The incidents ... usually [occurred] when the women were young newcomers to Congress. They range from isolated comments ... to repeated unwanted come-ons, to ... groping on the House floor. ... [T]he revelations underscore that no woman is immune, even at the highest reaches of government."

"The lawmakers declined to identify the perpetrators by name, but at least two of the men continue to serve in the House. None of the female lawmakers interviewed reported what happened, and some noted it was not clear where they would lodge such a complaint."

The cases:

  1. Former Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) endured "increasingly suggestive comments from a fellow lawmaker ... But when the congressman approached her on the House floor and told her he'd been thinking about her in the shower, she ... confronted the man, who she said still serves in Congress, telling him his comments were demeaning and wrong. And he backed off."
  2. Former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), described "an incident at a hearing in the 1980s where a male colleague made a sexually suggestive comment ... that he ... wanted to 'associate with the gentle lady.' Boxer said the comment was met with general laughter ... She said she later asked that it be removed from the record."
  3. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.): "When I was a very new member of Congress in my early 30s, there was a [married,] more senior member who outright propositioned me ... She [said] she would warn other new female members about the lawmaker in question ... [H]e remains in Congress."
  4. Sanchez said "that a different male colleague repeatedly ogled her, and at one point touched her inappropriately on the House floor, while trying to make it appear accidental."
  5. Former Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), now a Los Angeles County supervisor, "recalls repeated unwanted harassing overtures from one lawmaker, though she declined to name him or go into detail."

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

3 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."