AUSTIN, Texas (TRIBUNE)- An influential political group that works to get female Democrats elected in Texas has called on state Sens. Borris Miles of Houston and Carlos Uresti of San Antonio, both Democrats, to resign following reports of sexual misconduct.
Annie's List issued a statement Thursday after The Daily Beast reported multiple allegations of assault and harassment by the two senators.
"As we know all too well, men like Borris Miles and Carlos Uresti have been asserting themselves upon others without their permission for millenniums," said Patsy Woods Martin, executive director of the Austin-based organization. "What is new is that now we’re calling it out, taking these instances out of the shadows of shame and doubt that perpetrators, and their enablers, have foisted upon women."
The Daily Beast cited stories from unnamed women working at the Capitol who said they were forcibly kissed and otherwise harassed by the men. Miles didn't respond to Wednesday's story, but a spokeswoman said in a previous article by the publication that a published account of assault didn't happen. Uresti told the news site the allegations against him were "unfounded" and "erroneous."
Uresti issued an additional statement Thursday saying he respected the work of Annie’s List, but took issue with their director’s request for his resignation based solely on an unsourced article.
“While the story ends that the people being interviewed for this story 'asked not to be named,' such un-sourced accusations, without specific information as to time, place or alleged accuser, prevents me from being able to defend myself from completely unfounded innuendo,” he said.
Uresti pointed to one anecdote in the story in which an unnamed staffer said he saw Uresti with a young woman who he thought was a legislative staffer sitting on the senator's lap at a "first day of session party" in 2013. Uresti said the woman was his wife, and sent both The Daily Beast and the Tribune a screenshot of a photograph posted on Facebook from that night that shows Uresti sitting next to his wife.
In a statement released Thursday night, Miles said he will continue to fight for the people “until they decide otherwise.”
“I have made powerful enemies who will go to any length to destroy and disrupt my service,” he said. “I will not continue to address anonymous accusations that attack my personal and professional character as an effective lawmaker.”
Both lawmakers said in their statements that they plan to join any efforts in the Senate to develop policies and practices to prevent sexual misconduct.