I-Team: Congressman Kihuen’s first accuser shares why she went public

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For the first time, we’re hearing the voice of the first woman to come forward and accuse Congressman Ruben Kihuen of sexual harassment.

She agreed to a recorded interview with the I-Team. The woman still doesn’t want her face shown or her last name used out of fear people with bother her and her family.

Some supporters of Congressman Kihuen have spoken out against her, but she’s also received words of support. For example, from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Several other women have also come forward to say Congressman Kihuen crossed the line with them, too.

“I think for a long time I felt really powerless about the situation,” Samantha said.

But now, she says, not anymore after she came forward to say Congressman Kihuen sexually harassed her during his campaign for Congress.

In 2016, she was his campaign finance director at 25 years old.

“I kind of felt like it was my responsibility to say something,” she said. “I don’t think I could have that laying on my conscience if I didn’t say anything.”

Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “Do you want him to resign?”

Samantha: “Well, I mean as an American taxpayer, his salary is paid for by American taxpayers, I’m not really comfortable with the fact that my tax money is paying for his salary.”

Since Samantha first shared her story with BuzzFeed which published it Dec. 1, an ethics investigation is expected, and Kihuen has said he won’t resign, but will not run for re-election.

“It definitely just felt like he just felt entitled to act that way,” she said.

In 2016, she says she sent text messages to a friend describing Kiuhen’s inappropriate behavior which she also described to the I-Team by phone.

She says, she was confused Kihuen kept hitting on her since she told him she had a boyfriend and he had a girlfriend at the time.

“He says to me, ‘We should get a hotel room’ and I just said no. Like I tried to say it really clearly and firmly. No, so he would understand like I don’t think that’s funny. That’s not something I want to do and he just starts laughing at me. And then after the meeting was over, we were driving back to the office and he put his hand on my thigh and he asked me ‘have you ever cheated on your boyfriend’ and he said it in a way that was really serious, too like he really wanted to know and that really scared me.” 

She says, another day after that, he touched her leg again.

“I was just like shaking with rage that you know he would touch me like that at work and he already knows I’m not interested in him at all,” Samantha said. 

She says, she left the campaign after working for only four months because she was so uncomfortable.

“I didn’t want to yell at someone who’s technically my supervisor because they can potentially fire me. And you know like everybody else, I still need to pay my bills and pay rent.”

Samantha says no one has contacted her directly about any ethics investigation but she is pleased action could be taken.

She is disappointed no action was taken in 2016 after she says she did report Kihuen’s behavior to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

 

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