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Reed apologizes after allegation of sexual misconduct; won't run for any office in 2022

Celia Clarke / WSKG Public Media

Rep. Tom Reed has responded to an allegation made by a former lobbyist in a Washington Post storythat came out Friday. In a statement released early Sunday evening, Reed, a Southern Tier Republican from Corning who has been in Congress since 2010, announced that he will not run for any elected office in 2022.

Reed, 49, did note that when he was first elected, he pledged to voters to serve only six terms (12 years), so he will retire from public service as of Jan. 2, 2023. Reed previously said he was considering a run for governor in 2022, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo battles against his own allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Washington Post last week said that Nicolette Davis, who previously was a lobbyist for an insurance company, was at a bar in 2017 with the six-term congressman following a fishing trip when she said he began rubbing her shoulders before unhooking her bra.

According to the Post story, Reed was drunk at the time and was later escorted from the bar. Initially, he said there were other sides to the story.

“This account of my actions is not accurate,” said a statement from Reed sent to media on Friday. He refused to comment further.

In his statement on Sunday, Reed apologized to Davis and said he has received treatment for alcohol addiction:

Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her. In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility. I further apologize to my wife and kids, my family, the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues, and those who have supported me for the harm this caused them.

“Second, I want to share that this occurred at a time in my life in which I was struggling. Upon entering treatment in 2017, I recognized that I am powerless over alcohol. I am now approaching four years of that personal lifelong journey of recovery. With the support of my wife, kids and loved ones, professional help, and trust in a higher power, I continue that journey day-by-day. This is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done. Consistent with my recovery, I publicly take ownership of my past actions, offer this amends and humbly apologize again to Ms. Davis, my wife and kids, loved ones, and to all of you.”

“Third, I plan to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions. In addition to apologizing to those I have impacted, including Ms. Davis, I will be seeking to help those wrestling with addiction in any way I can. To others who may be struggling the way I have, please know that by seeking help your life will be forever changed in an extremely positive way. Though the journey is hard please know the rewards are amazing and you are worth it.”   

“As I go forward, I will strive to be a better human being, continue to fight for what I believe in, and to make people’s lives better in any way I can. I hope this formal apology is just the start.”

Reed is a former mayor of Corning, and is also co-chair of the House of Representatives' bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus. He has repeatedly been outspoken about sexual harassment and misconduct following the explosion of the #MeToo campaign in late 2017.

As several women stepped forward to accuse Cuomo of harassment or other acts of misconduct in recent weeks, Reed had called for him to be impeached. In 2017, Reed supported a House resolution requiring lawmakers and their staff to receive workplace sexual harassment training. He also supported legislation in 2018 that required lawmakers to be held personally liable for lawsuit settlements with staffers alleging harassment.

The seat is likely to be changed substantially in upcoming re-apportionment, probably making it even more rural and Republican, and there is usually a cavalry charge when a congressional seat opens. This district covers a sprawling section of the Southern Tier, from Lake Erie to well into Central New York, with a lot of Republicans and Conservatives holding other offices. Now, they are probably evaluating running for a congressional seat whose boundaries are unknown.

Even with the Democrats in Tompkins County around Ithaca -- a college town that is home to many Liberals -- a number of Democrats have found the district hard to win.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.
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