WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) told Latino Rebels on Monday that they support an investigation into sexual harassment allegations of Capitol custodial staff that were published in a 2019 report by the Architect of the Capitol’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
“Capitol custodians do essential work and deserve to be treated with dignity, not harassed by Members of Congress or their staffs. I fully support a follow-up investigation of these disturbing allegations and greater oversight over the Architect of the Capitol to ensure we have the proper training and protocols in place to prevent sexual harassment and hold perpetrators accountable,” CHC member Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) said in a statement to Latino Rebels.
The Texas Democrat is a former chair of the CHC. His comments come after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Thursday that House Administration Committee chair Zoe Lofgren would be following up on the report in a future meeting with the Architect of the Capitol and the OIG.
On Friday, CHC member Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX), in an answer about the 2019 report from Latino Rebels, called the allegations “absolutely unacceptable,” adding that “we need to investigate accusations of wrongdoing thoroughly and protect all of our employees. We need to uphold the rights of every single person who helps maintain our temple of democracy.”
On Monday, Castro weighed in on the report, as well CHC members Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL),
“Everyone deserves to be protected from harassment in the workplace,” Gallego said in a statement to Latino Rebels. “I’m glad this is being investigated so we can get to the bottom of what happened, address the issue, and take action to prevent anything like this from happening again.”
“Sexual misconduct is unacceptable anywhere, let alone at the Capitol. Congress must lead by example, finish our oversight duties and hold offenders accountable,” Soto (D-FL) noted in a statement to Latino Rebels.
First reported by Roll Call in 2019, the OIG’s “53-page report includes data on sexual harassment cases within the agency between October 2008 and October 2018.” The Roll Call story said that “some jurisdictions within the agency refused to cooperate with the OIG probe” and that “the report identified 57 incidents of sexual harassment since 2008. The accused included 24 supervisory-level employees. About 44 percent of the complaints were substantiated.”
The House of Representatives is back in session on Wednesday evening when President Joe Biden will travel to the Capitol to address a joint session of Congress.
Pablo Manríquez is a freelance political journalist based in Washington, D.C. He is an immigrant from Santiago de Chile with a political science degree from the University of Notre Dame. The Washington Post calls him “an Internet folk hero.” Twitter: @PabloReports.