Republicans

Texas congressman denies he sexually harassed staffer

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas  (U.S. House of Representatives )

Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican first elected in 2010, told a federal court on Friday that he never sexually harassed one of his staffers.

The court filing was in response to a lawsuit recently filed by his former communications director, Lauren Greene. She has accused Farenthold of making sexually suggestive comments to her, and telling another staffer in the office that he had been having sexual fantasies about Greene. She says she was fired soon after complaining to the congressman about being "bullied" by the office chief of staff.

Farenthold denied the allegations through a spokesman in December. On Friday, Farenthold told the court that Green was fired for poor performance and failing to report to work, then lying about it.

The "defendant admits that some staff occasionally joked that Rep. Farenthold finds redheads attractive, but denies the allegation's implication that this was a source for, or cause of, concern for any staffer," according to the response filed on Farenthold's behalf.

According to Greene, she had grown increasingly uncomfortable around the congressman and avoided private meetings with him. She alleged in her lawsuit that Farenthold "regularly drank to excess, and because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on `red head patrol' to keep him out of trouble."

In the document filed Friday, Farenthold acknowledged having disclosed in a staff meeting that he had been propositioned for a "threesome." But the congressman took issue with the detail that it involved a lobbyist and the suggestion was made for "an improper or lascivious purpose."