Ex-staffer for congressman alleges harassment

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2014 6:37 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former staffer for Rep. Blake Farenthold is suing the office of the Texas Republican, saying she was sexually harassed and fired soon after she complained of a hostile work environment.

Lauren Greene, a former communications director for Farenthold, filed the lawsuit last week in federal court in Washington.

In a statement Tuesday, a spokesman for Farenthold — first elected in 2010 — said the congressman expected to be cleared of wrongdoing "once all of the facts are revealed."

Greene alleges in her lawsuit that Farenthold made sexually suggestive comments to her, including some she says were designed to gauge her interest in a sexual relationship with him. She also says Farenthold disclosed to another staffer in the office that he had been having sexual fantasies about Greene.

In addition, Greene alleges that the office chief of staff "bullied" her and treated her hostilely, but that when she addressed the problem with Farenthold, was encouraged to simply stand up for herself.

She says she complained about the behavior to Farenthold in June and was fired less than a month later despite having never been warned that her job was in jeopardy.

Farenthold spokesman Kurt Bardella said Tuesday that while Farenthold could not discuss the specifics of the complaint, he and other members of the staff "have a very different view of the allegations."

"For the record, the office did not and does not discriminate based on sex or any other unlawful factor," the statement said.