ROSSLYN, Va. — A former fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Friday accused Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., of harassing her in 2013. Scott immediately denied the allegations.
M. Reese Everson said she was wrongfully terminated after the alleged harassment, in the latest charge of sexual misconduct leveled against a member of Congress.
"I was propositioned to have a sexual relationship with my boss that I did not want," she said at a news conference in a Washington suburb. . "I was retaliated against, I was wrongfully terminated and I was blackballed," Everson said.
In a statement, the 70-year-old Scott immediately denied the accusations: "I absolutely deny this allegation of misconduct. I have never sexually harassed anyone in my 25 years of service." He said Everson is backed by a "Republican operative known for dabbling in outlandish conspiracy theories."
Read the full statement below:
Today, a former Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow, backed by a Republican operative known for dabbling in outlandish conspiracy theories, falsely alleged an act of sexual harassment against me. I absolutely deny this allegation of misconduct. I have never sexually harassed anyone in my 25 years of service in the United States Congress, or in my 40 years of public service, or at any other time. Sexual harassment and assault are serious issues deserving of critical attention and review. No one should be subjected to sexual harassment or be treated unfairly. I have fought to promote and ensure that in my political and professional life and I live by it personally. The recent national discussion about sexual harassment is valued and important to our work to continue to make the workplace free from harassment and discrimination. False allegation will squander this momentous opportunity for dialogue or meaningful change in the workplace. I am confident that this false allegation will be seen for what it is when the facts are adequately reviewed.
Everson has previously spoken about facing sexual harassment on multiple occasions and published a 2015 book about sexual harassment in the workplace, without naming the member at issue.
Her attorney, Jack Burkman, is associated with one of the foremost conspiracy theories surrounding the 2016 election. He released an ad calling for people to help investigate the 2016 killing of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Far-right internet conspiracy theories have speculated the DNC arranged for Rich’s slaying. Washington DC police have made no arrests.
Everson had scheduled a news conference to identify her harasser in late November, but canceled it at the last minute. Burkman sent a statement saying he would no longer represent Everson, a registered lobbyist who has done work for Burkman’s firm, JM Burkman & Associates.
On Friday, Burkman said he never really withdrew his representation after Everson was a no-show. “I wanted to make sure she was ready and after the last fiasco we had I just felt she wasn’t ready," he said. “This is the toughest stuff I’ve ever worked with,” he said.
Everson is alleging harassment on Capitol Hill by other men as well.
Two days after the aborted press conference, Everson was in a video on The Cut alleging she was harassed by a lobbyist for one of the top three energy companies in the country. In the news conference, She declined to name the company or the lobbyist. Everson confirmed she had experienced inappropriate behavior by "multiple men," including a Congressional Black Caucus board member "looking for sex" during her time on Capitol Hill.
"It happened to me multiple times and that's what made me write the book," she said. "I didn't understand why men were taking such liberties."
Under the name Marsheri Everson, Reese Everson filed a 2011 lawsuit in Chicago alleging harassment of a sexual nature from a female supervisor. In that case, which was subsequently withdrawn, Everson claimed the supervisor retaliated against her after she reported the behavior. Asked about the lawsuit, Everson said she dropped it when she moved to Washington because she wanted to move on with her life.
During the news conference, Everson was challenged by a reporter about potentially conflicting accounts of the nature of the harassment involving Scott.
In her book, Everson says nothing physical happened between her and Scott. She later reiterated that point during an Oct. 6 speech promoting her book: "Although non-physical, the request for a relationship of a sexual nature reduced me to a physical object," she said.
In her original Nov. 29 press release, Everson says the congressman “touched her leg and body without permission and offered to advance her in her career if she’d allow him to have his way.” At the news conference, she clarified that Scott had touched her on her leg and her back during two separate alleged incidents.
Everson said she had previously "dismissed" the interactions and "didn't want to believe there was anything to it."
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