Congressman resigns due to sexual harassment claim

Married Meehan was accused by his much younger former aide of making unwanted overtures to her after she became involved with another man.

Patrick Meehan announced Friday that he will resign immediately after becoming the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation into sexually harassment of a former staffer and using taxpayer money to pay for a settlement.

"With the knowledge I would not be standing for another term, I have decided that stepping down now is in the interest of the constituents I have been honored to serve", Meehan said in a prepared statement Friday. Al Franken, D-Minn., who resigned in January, recently have either left before the completion of their terms or said they would not run for re-election because of sex scandals.

Meehan, a Catholic, was one of two Republicans who stood with Democrats on the House floor on Friday while they offered a resolution that would have set up a select committee to investigate Patrick Conroy's dismissal as House chaplain.

When news broke of the sexual harassment allegations, Meehan attempted to explain that he saw the female aide at the center of the claims as his "soul mate" and that he reacted "selfishly" upon learning that she was in a relationship.


Meehan, 62, of Upper Darby, Delaware County, pledged to repay $39,000 to the U.S. Treasury within 30 days of his resignation. It released a redrawn congressional map, those new boundaries would not take effect until the general election in November. There won't be an official primary ballot, as the political parties will pick their own candidates during nominating conventions. The nominees for a special election are chosen by party leaders, rather than through a direct primary election.

Meehan's departure could prompt a special election in his suburban Philadelphia district.

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared the state's congressional lines unconstitutional. The date of the election must be at least 60 days from the date the governor makes that announcement.

Pearl Kim, the Republican candidate to replace Meehan, was happy that he plans to reimburse the government for the money used in the payout.

This isn't the first time a member of Congress has promised to pay back money used to settle a suit.


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