Two months after a discrimination lawsuit accused Rep. Blake Farenthold of creating a hostile, sexually charged work environment, the Texas Republican claims his former communications director was fired for not showing up to work and lying about the circumstances of her absence.
In a detailed, 14-page response filed by attorneys from the Office of House Employment Counsel, Farenthold, 53, denied he was attracted to 27-year-old staffer Lauren Greene or that he had the “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” Greene alleged in her complaint. The document filed in D.C. federal court on Thursday acknowledges some of the eyebrow-raising details described by the fired press aide are true.
Staff "occasionally joked" about Farenthold finding redheads attractive, but the office denied Greene's claims that staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke about being on "redhead patrol" to keep him out of trouble, or that the three-term lawmaker drank to excess.
Did Farenthold disclose during a staff meeting that he had been propositioned for a threesome? His office admitted that one is true, but denied the woman who propositioned Farenthold was a lobbyist, and rejected Greene's claim that he told his staff about the proposition for "an improper or lascivious purpose."
Farenthold's office admitted he occasionally complimented Greene on her appearance, but said the same compliments were directed at other women and men in the office. The document also acknowledged an incident when Greene came to work in a shirt and bra "that were made of such flimsy fabric that [her] nipples were visible," but Farenthold's office is denying Greene's allegation the congressman told another staffer Greene could "show her nipples whenever she wanted to."
Greene, who has relocated to South Carolina, is asking for back pay and monetary compensation for emotional damages suffered due to "hostile treatment" during the 17 months she worked in Farenthold's office.
Related: Fired Staffer Sues Farenthold, Alleging Sexually Charged Workplace Blake Farenthold Relaxes Grip on Sex-Related Domain The 114th: CQ Roll Call's Guide to the New Congress Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.