Senator Used To 'Avoid Elevators' As Congressional Intern For Fear Of Sexual Harassment

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said on Tuesday that as an intern for Congress she used to avoid elevators for fear of sexual harassment.

“When I was an intern I learned to avoid elevators, because elevators were when you were captured,” McCaskill told NBC News in a video interview. “After one unfortunate incident in the elevator, I began taking the stairs everywhere I went in the state Capitol when I was there as a college student.”

McCaskill told reporters Tuesday that she had been sexually harassed as an intern on Capitol Hill in 1974 but had never reported it, according to the Washington Examiner. She wouldn’t say if the harassment came from a fellow staffer or a lawmaker.

“I’m not going to comment as to details of it, but suffice it to say that it happened more than once from more than one person,” McCaskill said.

The interviews took place after a congressional hearing on sexual harassment Tuesday morning in which several women lawmakers testified to Congress about instances of sexual misconduct they had heard of involving lawmakers or staff.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she knew of at least two members of Congress currently in office who had sexually harassed staffers, but didn’t give names.

McCaskill joins a growing list of women lawmakers who have recently come forward with tales of sexual misconduct and harassment in politics.

Last month, McCaskill recounted one instance of sexual harassment she endured as a young lawmaker in the Missouri state legislature. When she asked another lawmaker about how to get a piece of legislation out of committee, he asked in turn if she had “brought her knee pads,” she told NBC’s Meet The Press.

After Tuesday’s congressional hearing, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced that staff and members of the House would have to undergo mandatory sexual harassment training.

“Our goal is not only to raise awareness, but also make abundantly clear that harassment in any form has no place in this institution,” Ryan said in a statement. “Today’s hearing was another important step in our efforts to combat sexual harassment and ensure a safe workplace. I want to especially thank my colleagues who shared their stories.”

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Gretchen Carlson

Her account: In a lawsuit filed in July 2016, Carlson accused Ailes of sexual harassment and sexism. When Carlson attempted to address the discriminatory treatment in September 2015, Ailes allegedly told her: “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better." Carlson claimed that Ailes fired her in June 2016 for rebuffing his sexual advances and challenging a sexist newsroom culture. 

Ailes' response: The same day Carlson filed her lawsuit, Ailes released the below statement: 

"Gretchen Carlson’s allegations are false. This is a retaliatory suit for the network’s decision not to renew her contract, which was due to the fact that her disappointingly low ratings were dragging down the afternoon lineup. When Fox News did not commence any negotiations to renew her contract, Ms. Carlson became aware that her career with the network was likely over and conveniently began to pursue a lawsuit. Ironically, Fox News provided her with more on-air opportunities over her 11 year tenure than any other employer in the industry, for which she thanked me in her recent book. This defamatory lawsuit is not only offensive, it is wholly without merit and will be defended vigorously.” 

When we found out: July 6, 2016

When she says it happened: 2005 - 2016

Marsha Callahan

Her account: When Callahan (left) was starting out as an aspiring model in the 1960s, Ailes allegedly told her that he could advance her career if she slept with him, New York Magazine reported on July 9, 2016. During this time, Ailes was a producer on "The Mike Douglas Show” and allegedly asked Callahan to wear a garter belt and stockings and lift up her skirt for him.

Ailes’ response: Although Ailes did not publicly comment on Boyle’s accusation, his lawyer Barry Asen released a statement. Asen blamed Carlson's initial accusations for these new allegations: “It has become obvious that Ms. Carlson and her lawyer are desperately attempting to litigate this in the press because they have no legal case to argue. The latest allegations, all 30 to 50 years old, are false.”

When we found out: July 9, 2016

When she says it happened: 
1967 or 1968

Megyn Kelly

Her account: Directly after Carlson’s accusations came to light, Kelly allegedly told 21st Century Fox investigators that Ailes made unwanted sexual advances when she was just starting out as a correspondent for Fox 10 years prior. In her recent memoir, Kelly wrote that Ailes made inappropriate advances, commenting on her “very sexy bras” and “how he’d like to see [her] in them.” He also tried to grab and kiss her, and later threatened to fire her if she did not comply.

Ailes' response: “I categorically deny the allegations Megyn Kelly makes about me. I worked tirelessly to promote and advance her career, as Megyn herself admitted to Charlie Rose. Watch that interview and then decide for yourself,” Ailes said in a statement to People Magazine on November 15, 2016. “My attorneys have restricted me from commenting further -- so suffice it to say that no good deed goes unpunished.”

When we found out: Initial accusations on July 19, 2016; details from her book on November 3, 2016

When she says it happened: 2005 - 2006

Rudi Bakhtiar

Her account: The former Fox News correspondent told The New York Times she was fired for complaining about sexual harassment from then-Fox News Washington bureau chief Brian Wilson. Similar to other accusations, Bakhtiar said Ailes also behaved inappropriately, asking her to stand during a job interview so he could see her legs and sending her miniskirts to wear at work.

Ailes’ response: None from Ailes, Fox News or parent company 21st Century Fox.

When we found out: July 23, 2016

When she says it happened: 2007

Laurie Luhn

Her account: Luhn, the former director of booking at Fox News, said that Ailes sexually harassed and blackmailed her into performing sexual acts for more than 20 years. “It was psychological torture,” she told New York Magazine on July 29, 2016. Luhn was among the few women who said she had given in to Ailes' demands, knowing he could help her career.

Ailes’ response: “Ms. Luhn is someone I once regarded as a friend and a person who I helped for many years,” Ailes wrote in a statement to ABC News in November 18, 2016. “The stories she is telling now are fabrications built on half-truths and outright lies, and I can only assume are opportunistically intended to thrust her back into the limelight at my expense.”

When we found out: 
July 29, 2016

When she says it happened: 1996 - 2016

Laurie Dhue

Her account: Dhue, who worked as a Fox News anchor from 2000 to 2008, said that Ailes asked if she was wearing underwear while she was jumping with his then 6-year-old son at a barbecue in New Jersey. “Are you wearing any panties? I wish you weren’t,” Ailes allegedly asked Dhue.  

Ailes’ response: No public response.

When we found out: 
August 2, 2016

When she says it happened: 
Sometime during her tenure at Fox News between 2000 and 2008.

Andrea Tantaros

Her account: In a lawsuit filed August 2016, former Fox News host Tantaros claimed that Ailes is a “sexual predator” who made inappropriate sexual comments about her body and requested she hug him and twirl for him in his office. In the lawsuit, Tantaros named other Fox News male colleagues who sexually harassed her, including Bill O’Reilly. She called Fox News a “sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.” After Tantaros complained about Ailes and Fox News’ misogynistic culture, she said she was demoted and taken off the air.

Ailes’ response: While Ailes did not publicly comment on the accusations, Fox News’ lawyers called Tantaros an “opportunist” and said her lawsuit “bears all the hallmarks of the ‘wannabe.’”

When we found out: 
August 8, 2016

When she says it happened: 2014 - 2016

Shelley Ross

Her account: In an essay for The Daily Beast in August 2016, Ross details the sexual harassment she experienced on “The Tomorrow Show” from Roger Ailes. Ross wrote that Ailes proposed a “sexual alliance” while she worked on the show.

Ailes’ response: None.

When we found out: August 8, 2016

When she says it happened: 1981

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.