Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) denies terminating a former staffer for pursuing legal action against a former employee of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation she claims raped her, Buzzfeed News reports.
In a lawsuit filed last week, Huffington Post reports, “the woman, identified as Jane Doe, accuses Damien Jones of raping her in October 2015, when she was a 19-year-old intern and he was her 30-year-old supervisor at the CBCF, where Jackson Lee chairs the board of directors.”
The woman, who claims that Jones got her “blackout drunk” before he and possibly his roommate sexually assaulted her in their apartment, reported the alleged assault to D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Results of a rape kit confirmed Jones’ DNA on her breasts. DNA recovered from her underwear was inconclusive.
Jones denies the woman’s allegations, despite text messages that she sent to a friend during the alleged assault asking for help.
In the lawsuit, Doe claims that she reported the alleged assault to the CBCF, and to her former boss Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.). Jones was subsequently placed on leave.
Doe claims that she was terminated over budget concerns mere days after sharing with Jackson Lee’s office that she planned to pursue legal action against Jones.
“Prior to Ms. Doe telling Mr. Rushing that she was moving forward with legal action, Mr. Rushing and Representative Jackson Lee both stated on several occasions that they were pleased with Ms. Doe’s performance,” her suit states.
In a statement touting her record on civil rights, Jackson Lee vehemently denies that Doe was terminated in retaliation of any kind and expressed concern for her well-being.
UPDATE: Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's office just put out a statement addressing allegations in a new lawsuit that she retaliated against a staffer who planned to sue the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation over an alleged rape by a former CBCF employee https://t.co/6pG5soD6yI pic.twitter.com/1CFSuMbi60
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) January 17, 2019
Doe, who says her career has been derailed, is seeking $75,000 in damages and a jury trial.