Jackson Lee Resigns From Key Posts After Handling of Rape Case Scrutinized

Sheila Jackson Lee / Getty Images
January 23, 2019

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) resigned as the head of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) after facing criticism for her handling of a workplace sexual harassment claim.

Jackson Lee was sued last week by a former CBCF intern who claims the Texas congresswoman retaliated against her after she reported she was raped by former CBCF intern coordinator Damien Jones. The lawsuit alleges Jackson Lee fired the woman years later after she began legal proceedings against Jones.

Jackson Lee had been asked by the CBCF board of directors to step down, but refused to do so, Politico reported last week. At least one board member responded in protest, and Politico reported that "sources with knowledge of the situation say more are expected to follow if [Jackson Lee] remains."

Jackson Lee relented Wednesday. The 13-term congresswoman also resigned her chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee’s influential Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, but the New York Times reports that she will only step aside temporarily.

"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," Jackson Lee's office said in a statement. "While we still deny the allegations, we are especially concerned about Ms. Doe and only want the best for her and the many, many young people that the Congressional office has supported, encouraged, and provided opportunities for over 20 years."