Shortly after a former staffer filed a lawsuit accusing Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) of firing her as retribution for a sexual assault allegation against a former boss, the congresswoman has stepped down from the chairmanship of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and her post on a House Judiciary subcommittee.
According to a Wednesday New York Times report, Jackson Lee has been facing internal pressure from CBCF members and her Democratic peers to at least temporarily step down or be removed.
The former aide claims that she was raped by a member of the CBCF and eventually told Jackson Lee when she got hired to her office and heard that there were discussions to hire her alleged rapist, Damien Jones, as well. According to that initial BuzzFeed News report, Jackson Lee cancelled a scheduled meeting with the ex-staffer (named Jane Doe in the lawsuit) and fired her shortly after, citing budgetary issues.
Jackson Lee is maintaining her innocence. “The congresswoman is confident that, once all of the facts come to light, her office will be exonerated of any retaliatory or otherwise improper conduct and this matter will be put to rest,” a statement from her office says.