Lobbyist accuses New York Republican seen as potential Cuomo challenger of sexual misconduct

Representative Tom Reed said: ‘This account of my actions is not accurate’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 19 March 2021 20:48 GMT
Cuomo urges people to wait for 'the facts' before forming an opinion

A former lobbyist has accused New York congressman Tom Reed of sexual misconduct during a visit to Minnesota in 2017.

The Republican representative for New York’s 23rd District has said he is considering a gubernatorial run and compared incumbent Andrew Cuomo to disgraced former politician Anthony Weiner when asked about the sexual harassment allegations against the governor.

Nicolette Davis, then 25, was on her first networking trip as a junior lobbyist for insurance company Aflac when the alleged incident occurred at an Irish pub in Minneapolis after a day of ice fishing.

Ms Davis told The Washington Post that the upstate New York representative was seated beside her as part of a group. He placed his hand on her back, unhooked her bra through her blouse, and then moved his hand up her thigh, she said.

Frozen in fear, she asked the man seated on her other side for help, she said. He reportedly pulled the congressman away and removed him from the premises.

Prior to that, she had texted a friend for help saying: “A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” and “HELP HELP.”

Her account is supported by another person at the table, who told the Post that Mr Reed was visibly intoxicated. They spoke on condition of anonymity.

When challenged with a list of questions regarding the incident by the paper, Mr Reed released a prepared statement that read: “This account of my actions is not accurate.”

The Independent has contacted Congressman Reed’s office for comment.

Speaking on Fox News in February, Mr Reed said that he may challenge Governor Cuomo in 2022, specifically referencing the controversy surrounding nursing home deaths from Covid-19 and the subsequent alleged cover-up.

The congressman has since called on Mr Cuomo to resign over the multiple sexual harassment allegations levelled against him. Mr Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing and has urged people to let an investigation take its course.

Mr Reed said: “These incidents of sexual harassment and pattern of abuse are abhorrent and have absolutely no place in our society, let alone the highest rungs of government. Such behaviour is disturbing and unacceptable.”

Ms Davis originally approached the paper with her story prior to Mr Reed’s announcement that he is mulling a run for the governor’s office.

Now a second lieutenant in the US Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, her approaching graduation from field artillery school prompted her to consider what kind of leader she wanted to be and what example she would like to set for soldiers, including younger women, she said.

“I hope it will allow people who have endured similar experiences to feel confident enough to say something.”

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