A former female employee to Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) has filed a sexual harassment suit against the 10-term congressman, accusing him of "unwelcome sexual advances," and "unwelcome touching."
Winsome Packer filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Monday, along with the conservative group Judicial Watch. Packer says the incidents took place from 2008 until 2010, when she worked with Hastings on the U.S. Commission on Cooperation and Security in Europe, or the Helsinki Commission. Hastings co-chaired the independent government agency during that time, and the commission and its former staff director, Fred Turner are also named in the suit.
According to the lawsuit, "Mr. Hastings' intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances." Those detailed include "multiple demands" to stay at her apartment, "unwanted physical contact" include hugging, inviting her to accompany him to his hotel room, and asking "inappropriate questions in public" such as "What kind of underwear are you wearing?" Packer says that as a result, she experienced "insomnia, anxiety, depression, high-blood pressure, and developed symptoms of coronary artery disease."
In a statement, Hastings denied the charges, but said he had not yet read the entire complaint.
"I have never sexually harassed anyone. 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!," said Hastings. ""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."