With the #metoo movement being such a big deal these days, this could have major consequences for Sheila Jackson Lee:
BUZZFEED – A former staffer for Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims in a new lawsuit that the lawmaker retaliated against her and fired her because she was planning to pursue legal action over an alleged rape by a former employee of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
The woman, identified in court papers by the pseudonym Jane Doe, alleges she was raped in October 2015, when she was a 19-year-old intern for the CBCF, by the foundation’s intern coordinator at the time, Damien Jones. The woman said she reported the alleged rape to police and told several people, including Rep. Terri Sewell, her former boss and a distant relative of her mother’s, but did not pursue legal action at the time.
Several years later, when Jane Doe was working for Jackson Lee, the woman decided she did want to pursue legal action, and told Jackson Lee’s chief of staff Glenn Rushing in early March 2018. The woman alleges that she asked to speak with Jackson Lee about it, but a meeting never happened, and several weeks later she was fired. Jackson Lee is chair of the board for the CBCF.
Jones did not return requests for comment. After leaving the CBCF in late 2015, he continued to work in Democratic politics and recently served as the regional political director for former representative Beto O’Rourke’s Senate campaign. Chris Evans, a spokesperson for the O’Rourke campaign, said in an email to BuzzFeed News, “The Beto for Texas campaign was absolutely not aware of these allegations until today and no longer has a relationship with Damien Jones.”
Rushing told BuzzFeed News in a phone call that “We had nothing to do with any of the actions that have been cited and the person was not wrongfully terminated.” He declined to answer additional questions.
I won’t question why a woman who was raped waited three years before deciding to take legal action. Assuming her allegations are true, I’m sure it’s a difficult and vulnerable place to be in having had something like that happen to you. And as we’ve learned from other women who have been assaulted and raped, much of the time nobody believes them, especially when they are in lower level jobs.
Of course Sheila Jackson Lee “adamantly denies the allegations that [she] retaliated against, or otherwise improperly treated, the plaintiff.”
We should certainly wait for the facts, but given all of the recent allegations like this, I won’t be shocked if this young woman is telling the truth. Sheila Jackson Lee has never seemed to me to be anything less than a cutthroat Democrat who will do anything to protect herself and push her agenda.