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Democratic Florida Congressman Denies Sexual Harassment Charges

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Democratic congressman is denying accusations that he repeatedly sexually harassed an employee over the course of two years, calling the allegations “ludicrous” and a “lie. He vowed he will be vindicated and will win a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Rep. Alcee Hastings issued a statement declaring his innocence Monday afternoon after Judicial Watch, a public interest group that investigates government corruption, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Winsome Packer, a female employee who says she was repeatedly subjected to “unwelcome sexual advances,” “unwelcome touching” and retaliation.

“I have never sexually harassed anyone,” Hastings, a 10-term Democrat from Florida, said in a statement Monday afternoon.  “In fact, I am insulted that these ludicrous allegations are being made against me. When all the facts are known in this case, the prevailing sentiment will be, ‘How bizarre!’”

The alleged harassment and retaliation began in 2008, according to Judicial Watch, when Hastings was chairman of the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.  The commission is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as is its former staff director, Fred Turner.

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