Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA) ignored his aides’ advice against giving interviews last week after it became public that he settled a sexual harassment claim brought by a former staffer using taxpayer dollars, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, citing two unnamed sources with direct knowledge of Meehan’s planning and three other unnamed sources briefed on the situation, that congressional and campaign aides to Meehan advised him not to give interviews.
Meehan did not heed that advice, according to the report. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week that he had “developed an affection” for the decades-younger aide, whose name has not been made public, and said he considered her “a soul mate.”
He later told the New York Times that the aide, who accused him of sexual harassment and retaliation, had “specifically invited” his communications and claimed he “didn’t do anything wrong.”
“This was a person who specifically invited communication with me so that she would be able to have the ability to be there for me,” Meehan told the New York Times. “That I would find later that that was not something that she was comfortable with, really hurts me.”
Meehan announced days later that he will retire at the end of his term.
One unnamed source involved in Meehan’s response to reporting on the allegations told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the personal interviews Meehan gave were “sort of a confessional.”
“He knew what he wanted to say and he said it,” the source told the Philadelphia Inquirer.