Bob Packwood, Senator (R-Ore.), resigned in 1995 under a threat of public senate hearings related to 10 female ex-staffers accusing him of sexual harassment.
Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.)
Less than three weeks after Packwood narrowly won a fifth term, the Washington Post on Nov. 22, 1992, reported allegations from 10 female ex-staffers that Packwood had sexually harassed them. The Post had the story before the election, but didn't run it as Packwood had denied the charges. With the story now out in the open, Packwood said that if any of his actions were "unwelcome," he was "sincerely sorry." He then sought alcohol counseling. But his longtime feminist allies were outraged, and with more women coming forward with horror stories, there were calls for his resignation. It wasn't until September of 1995 when, faced with the prospect of public Senate hearings and a vote to expel, Packwood announced his resignation.
Bob Packwood, Senator (R-Ore.) resigned in 1995 under a threat of public senate hearings related to 10 female ex-staffers accusing him of sexual harassment. A pro-choice Republican who often rallied for women's rights, Packwood let down generations of supporters, and is a good example of the complexity of human nature, since he supported legislation to protect womenâ€™s rights during his 25 years in office while simultaneously making unwanted sexual advances toward many different women. In the end, 19 women testified to outrageous behavior which was mostly carried out when Packwood was drunk. The most damaging was the charge of a former staff woman who was only 17 years old at the time. Packwood might still have survived the challenge had he responded with his former talent for compromise, but he was defiant and confrontational, trying to bully his way through the situation and alienating even his friends, it is reported.
Investigations revealed more incidents of sexual harassment and also exposed Packwood's secret personal diaries. Packwood eventually resigned from the Senate on October 1, 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to expel him.
Claims to fame: U.S. Senator; pro-choice, pro-ERA, all-around pro-womenâ€™s-rights Republican (!); serial groper; sleazebag
Moral apex: Groped and fondled several female staffers â€” and tried to forcibly French-kiss a lobbyist for the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Ten different women complained initially, in â€˜92; more stepped forward later.
Twinkie defense: He was drunk.
Consequence: Resigned in 1995 after Senate Ethics Committee decided to expel him.