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Ethics Committee Releases Report On Rep. Hastings, Probe Will Continue

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)
Carl de Souza
AFP/Getty Images
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)

"The House Ethics Committee said Wednesday it needs more time to consider sexual harassment allegations against Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)," The Associated Press writes, "but released a report in which the alleged victim detailed a pattern of sexually suggestive remarks and unwanted hugs."

Hastings has previously denied "in the strongest possible terms" that he did anything wrong.

But as the AP says, "under its rules, the House Ethics Committee was obligated to release the Office of Congressional Ethics report on Wednesday. The OCE is composed of a board of non-legislators, and refers its findings to the ethics committee for further work."

The report, which is posted here, runs through various claims from Winsome Packer, a staffer at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe a government agency based in Vienna, Austria, that Hastings once headed. As the AP writes, "Packer described Hastings as constantly hugging her against her will, pressing his cheek against hers and suggesting he go to her hotel room or she go to his room." She also says he suggested no one would think less of her if she had a relationship with him. The alleged incidents happened from 2008 to 2010.

The AP reminds us that Hastings, who is in his 10th term, "is a former federal judge who was charged with bribery, but was acquitted in 1983. However, the House voted to impeach him and the Senate convicted him in the late 1980s."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.