U.S. congressman resigns amid allegations of sexual harassment

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-09 11:53:27|Editor: Liu
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Representative Trent Franks charged with sexual harassment by his former aides announced Friday that he's resigning immediately instead of early next year.

In a statement, Franks said he moved forward the date of his resignation after his wife was admitted to a hospital for "an ongoing ailment."

"After discussing with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effectively today, Dec. 8th, 2017," he said.

The announcement came a day after the 60-year-old Arizona Republican revealed his decision to resign at the end of January over accusations that he asked two former aides to bear his child as surrogate mothers.

The eight-term Arizona lawmaker and his wife have reportedly struggled with infertility.

In that announcement on Thursday, Franks acknowledged having discussed with congressional aides over surrogacy, but claimed that he had never "physically intimated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff."

"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others," Franks said.

"I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress," he added.

Franks' resignation also came as a Friday report said that he offered a former aide 5 million U.S. dollars to act as a surrogate for his child.

Another report said on Friday that Franks made unwanted advances over surrogacy toward female aides, who alleged it was not clear whether he was asking about impregnating them via sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization.

The House Ethics Committee said Thursday that it was opening an investigation into allegations against Franks.

A spokesman said Friday that it is likely Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will wait until Monday to announce the dates for a special election for a midterm replacement for Franks.