Republican Congressman Tom Reed, who is considering a run for governor of New York, has been accused of sexual misconduct by a former lobbyist, according to the Washington Post.
Nicolette Davis told the Post that an intoxicated Reed touched her inappropriately at a Minneapolis pub in 2017. Davis said the incident occured during her first networking trip for Aflac at age 25; the congressman had accompanied her and other lobbyists to an Irish bar after a day of ice fishing.
Davis recounted Reed, then 45, putting his hand on her back and unclasping her bra from the outside of her shirt. She alleges that he then put his hand on her thigh and began to inch it higher. Davis said she eventually got help from a person sitting beside her, who pulled Reed from the table and out of the building.
Davis’s story was backed up by another individual at the table who wished to remain anonymous but told the Post that Reed “was visibly intoxicated and put his hand on Davis’s back before being escorted from the restaurant while the rest of the group remained.”
An initial statement from Reed’s office to the paper said, “This account of my actions is not accurate.” However, on Sunday, Reed issued a statement apologizing to Davis and saying that he will not run for office in 2022, saying that he is “retiring from public service.” He also stated that he was struggling with alcoholism at the time of the alleged misconduct.
The allegation came as Reed was openly mulling a 2022 run against Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is under fire for sexual-misconduct accusations of his own, as well as for allegedly mishandling data on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
Davis, who is now a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, contacted the Post on February 11 and said her speaking out had nothing to do with Reed’s prospective run.
Axios reported earlier this month that Reed was already taking steps to build his campaign staff and talking to potentially interested parties.
“We are seriously considering it. We’ve been asked by many people to do this for months because I think they appreciate the way I govern. Not the governing by arrogance and bullying that Governor Cuomo does, but trying to bring people together,” Reed said in a February interview with Fox News.
This post has been updated to reflect Rep. Tom Reed’s statement on retiring in 2022.