Tom Reed

New York Republican accused of sexual misconduct won’t seek re-election

Tom Reed, a Republican congressman from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced he will not run for re-election next year. Reed, 49, said the incident involving Nicolette Davis occurred “at a time in my life in which I was struggling”. He said he entered treatment that year as he was “powerless over alcohol”. Reed apologized to his wife and children and to Davis and said he planned “to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions”.

First elected to Congress in 2010, Reed was among the members of Congress calling for the resignation of the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, over sexual harassment allegations. In late February, Reed said he was seriously considering running against Cuomo next year.

Reed said on Sunday he would not seek any elective office in 2022.

The announcement came two days after the Washington Post reported the allegations from Davis, who was 25 and a lobbyist for the insurer Aflac when she said Reed, seated next to her at a Minneapolis bar, unhooked her bra from outside her blouse and moved his hand to her thigh.

“A drunk congressman is rubbing my back,” she texted a co-worker at Aflac that evening, adding later: “HELP HELP.”

Reed released a statement Friday saying: “This account of my actions is not accurate.”

In his statement on Sunday he said: “In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility.”

A former mayor of Corning, New York, Reed is co-chair of the House bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. He voted against impeaching former president Donald Trump in January but voted in favor of certifying the election of Joe Biden.