New Allegations Spur Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to Assure Texans Their Senate Will Deter Sexual Harassment

AUSTIN — Spurred by sexual harassment and assault allegations against two Democratic senators, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked the head of a Senate panel that handles internal matters whether the chamber is doing all it should to shield lawmakers and Senate employees from lurid and "inappropriate behavior.""These are serious allegations that have been denied by the senators," Patrick said late Thursday in a written statement.The Republican lieutenant governor acted hours after the online publication The Daily Beast reported on multiple alleged instances of sexual misconduct by Sens. Borris Miles of Houston and Carlos Uresti of San Antonio, both Democrats.The news outlet based its accounts on interviews and communications with unnamed female lobbyists, current and former legislative employees and current and former journalists.Annie's List, a political action committee that supports female Democratic candidates who favor abortion rights for state offices, promptly called on Miles and Uresti to resign.Both men, though, rebutted the published account. Miles and Uresti insisted they would stay in office, in part to participate in the Senate's upcoming deliberations on how to deter sexual harassment, which they said is a very important goal.In a written statement, Uresti called the allegations against him "unfounded" and "erroneous." He praised Annie's List but expressed frustration that it seized on the accounts from The Daily Beast's unnamed sources."Such un-sourced accusations, without specific information as to time, place or alleged accuser, prevent me from being able to defend myself from completely unfounded innuendo," he said.According to The Daily Beast, Uresti denied a female reporter's claim that in the mid-2000s, as a House member, he groped her as they discussed legislation over drinks and, after walking her to her car, forcibly kissed her. In his written statement, Uresti attached a photo of a Facebook post showing him with his wife on the night of the first day of the 2013 session. The news outlet quoted a male legislative staffer as saying he'd seen Uresti at a first day of session party "with a young woman on his lap.""While The Daily Beast reporter was correct that I had been seen that night with a beautiful woman; that woman was my beautiful wife, Lleanna," he said.  Continue reading...

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