2nd woman accuses Dem Rep. Kihuen of sexual misconduct; Dem leaders torn over resignation
A second woman has come forward alleging that Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., made inappropriate sexual advances toward her – claiming he asked her to sit on his lap and sent dozens of suggestive Facebook messages and hundreds of text messages.
The woman, a lobbyist who has not been identified, told The Nevada Independent that Kihuen touched her thighs or buttocks three separate times without her consent when he was a state senator.
She also said he sent her a shirtless photo and asked her to sit on his lap.
The once-rising star of the Democratic Party allegedly texted her: “What color are your panties?”
When she didn’t respond, he allegedly wrote, “Makes me sad. My day can’t go on without knowing.”
The lobbyist told the Nevada paper she didn’t think Kihuen thinks what he did was wrong.
“I think he just thought he was playing around, which, I don’t think he realized the position he probably put people in,” she said.
Kihuen's office did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for comment from Fox News.
The new allegations come as Democrats remain divided on how to handle the situation.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, who heads the Democrats’ campaign arm, have called on Kihuen to resign.
“In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward.”
Pelosi made the statement after BuzzFeed first published allegations of unwanted sexual advances made by Kihuen’s then-campaign finance director.
While Pelosi was quick to call for Kihuen’s resignation, others in the party like Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., have taken a wait-and-see approach.
Kihuen is the latest lawmaker on Capitol Hill whose political future could be in jeopardy following allegations of sexual misconduct.
Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold announced Thursday he would not seek reelection after he was accused of calling staffers "f---tards" and sexually demeaning them and their spouses.
Former staffers accused Farenthold of routinely commenting on the size of women’s breasts and making jokes about being on “redhead patrol” because he was attracted to women with red hair.
His former communications director Michael Rekola also told CNN that in July 2015, Rekola was leaving the office so he could get married when Farenthold told him he “better have your finacee blow you before she walks down the aisle- it will be the last time.”
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., resigned earlier this month after a tidal wave of resignation calls by members of his own party. Eight women accused Franken of inappropriate behavior. Thirty-six Democratic lawmakers demanded he step down.
Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., the longest-serving member of Congress, also retired following allegations he sexually harassed multiple women.