WASHINGTON — Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., apologized Sunday to a woman who accused him of touching her inappropriately and said he would not run for any political office in 2022, including governor.
In a lengthy statement, Reed apologized to a former lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, whose allegation that the congressman groped her during a 2017 political trip was reported Friday by The Washington Post. Reed said that he took “full responsibility” for the episode and that it “occurred at a time in my life in which I was struggling” with alcohol addiction.
“Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her,” Reed, 49, said. “In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, I caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry and I take full responsibility.”
Before Davis’ allegation, Reed was mulling a run for governor in 2022, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, was besieged by a wave of accusations of sexual harassment and other misconduct. Reed also said Sunday that he would not run for reelection, citing a pledge to serve only six terms that he made to voters when he was first elected in 2010.
Davis told The Post that when she was a 25-year-old lobbyist for the insurance company Aflac, Reed groped her at an Irish pub in Minneapolis after a day of ice fishing with donors, politicians and lobbyists. While intoxicated, Reed placed his hand on her back, she said, unclasped her bra through her blouse and moved his hand up her thigh before Davis asked the man sitting next to her to intervene.
After her accusation was made public Friday, Reed said in a statement that the “account of my actions is not accurate,” but did not elaborate or deny the encounter outright.
Reed had been on a shortlist for New York Republicans thinking of challenging Cuomo, who has been significantly weakened politically by the sexual harassment scandal as well as by controversy over his administration’s handling of the state’s nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.