Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, a Democrat from Connecticut, announced on Monday that she will not seek re-election after it was reported she knew about serious abuse allegations against her former chief of staff, Tony Baker, and waited months before firing him.
As The Washington Post earlier reported, Baker left a phone message for Anna Kain, another former Esty aide he had dated, after calling her dozens of times on May 5, 2016. He said in the message: “You better fucking reply to me or I will fucking kill you.”
Esty found out about the episode within a week, according to emails obtained by the paper, which also reported Kain “provided detailed allegations that Baker had punched, berated, and sexually harassed her in Esty’s Capitol Hill office throughout 2014.” Kain contacted the police, filed a report for felony threats, and was later granted a 12-month restraining order against Baker.
Despite all this, Baker was allowed to stay on the job for three more months before signing an agreement with Esty that included severance pay, secrecy provisions, and a draft recommendation letter for future jobs. He later went on to work for Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control group, but was fired after the Post contacted them about the incident.
Esty has since said that she regrets how she handled the situation. In a statement on Monday, she called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether or not there was any wrongdoing on her part, writing, “Although we worked with the House Employment Counsel to investigate and ultimately dismiss this employee for his outrageous behavior with a former staffer, I believe it is important for the House Ethics Committee to conduct its own inquiry into this matter.”