The man who investigates sexual harassers in Congress accused of sexual harassment

Omar Ashmawy, staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, has been accused in a lawsuit of physically assaulting and abusing a woman in Pennsylvania.  The suit stems from a late-night altercation in a bar in which Ashmawy was seen sexually harassing a bartender.  When his sexual advances were rebuffed, Ashmawy became violent and abusive toward the woman.

Ashmawy, who has been investigating sexual harassment allegations against members of Congress, then used his office to influence local officials who were investigating the incident at the bar.

Foreign Policy:

"To be clear, I did not harass anyone that evening, physically or verbally," he wrote in a statement to FP. "To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false."

The lawsuit, previously unreported, stems from Feb. 14, 2015 – Valentine's Day. The evening appeared to start off well for Ashmawy: a nearly $400 dinner with his girlfriend at an upscale restaurant in Milford, followed by late-night drinks at a local bar.

It ended, however, with him bruised and bloody in the back of a police car.

The lawsuit, filed by one of the men who was involved in the fight, includes witness testimony from eyewitnesses who described Ashmawy's behavior:

According to the complaint, Martucci on the night of Feb. 14, 2015, witnessed "an extremely violent and belligerent" Ashmawy become verbally abusive toward two women at Milford's Dimmick Inn, Dawn Jorgenson – the wife of John Jorgenson, the owner of the bar – and Joey Lynn Smith, a bartender there.

Martucci also said he saw Ashmawy physically assaulting Dawn Jorgenson and Christina Floyd, another woman at the bar, a claim echoed in police statements given by the women and reviewed by FP.

According to a three-page statement dated March 12, 2015, Dawn Jorgenson said she witnessed Ashmawy "clearly sexually harassing" the bartender throughout the course of the evening and saw his behavior spiral toward physical violence. "You'll give me drinks, but you won't [f---] me," Ashmawy allegedly said to the bartender, according to Dawn Jorgenson's written statement.

She said she then saw Ashmawy block the bartender with his body and curse at her, and grab her by the wrists. Dawn Jorgenson said when she tried to intervene, Ashmawy turned against her. "He's holding my wrist so tightly that he falls down to the ground landing to the left of me," she wrote in her statement.

She said her husband, John Jorgenson, came over to help and pulled Ashmawy away, taking him outside.

In statements given to police, the third woman, Christina Floyd, provided a similar account. "I watched each time Omar would come down and verbally sexually harass the bartender as he ordered drinks," Floyd wrote in her statement, describing an increasingly angry Ashmawy confronting the bartender.

A real charmer, that one.

Ashmawy also sent a letter to the prosecutor in Pennsylvania demanding that those involved in the altercation be prosecuted.  He sent the letter on his official House stationery:

An email reviewed by FP from Ashmawy, using his congressional affiliation, to the police chief and officials at the district attorney's office accuses them of not handling the case properly.

"As of today it has been over five weeks since I was assaulted. To date, the police department's investigation is not complete and charges have not been filed. I am deeply concerned," he wrote in the email, which is signed with his congressional title and work mail address.

Ashmawy cites his injuries, which he said included a facial fracture and a "bruised and bloodied" eye.

In the same email, Ashmawy references his own work conducting investigations, and indicates that if charges aren't filed the case might attract high-level attention in the capital.

This is a clear case of Ashmawy trying to intimidate local officials using the power of his office. 

So who watches the watchdog?  Obviously, Ashmawy is unfit to serve in his current capacity.  You can't have someone accused of sexual harassment investigating congressmen accused of the same charge.  But the bar incident occurred in 2015, and somehow, Ashmawy's superiors never got wind of what happened that night.  He has been investigating several congressmen, including Rep. John Conyers, who was forced to resign after several accusers came forward.  Are those investigations now tainted because of his reported behavior?

The accusatory environment in which these charges of sexual assault are being brought demands investigators above reproach.  Ashmawy fails that test and should be fired.

Omar Ashmawy, staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, has been accused in a lawsuit of physically assaulting and abusing a woman in Pennsylvania.  The suit stems from a late-night altercation in a bar in which Ashmawy was seen sexually harassing a bartender.  When his sexual advances were rebuffed, Ashmawy became violent and abusive toward the woman.

Ashmawy, who has been investigating sexual harassment allegations against members of Congress, then used his office to influence local officials who were investigating the incident at the bar.

Foreign Policy:

"To be clear, I did not harass anyone that evening, physically or verbally," he wrote in a statement to FP. "To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false."

The lawsuit, previously unreported, stems from Feb. 14, 2015 – Valentine's Day. The evening appeared to start off well for Ashmawy: a nearly $400 dinner with his girlfriend at an upscale restaurant in Milford, followed by late-night drinks at a local bar.

It ended, however, with him bruised and bloody in the back of a police car.

The lawsuit, filed by one of the men who was involved in the fight, includes witness testimony from eyewitnesses who described Ashmawy's behavior:

According to the complaint, Martucci on the night of Feb. 14, 2015, witnessed "an extremely violent and belligerent" Ashmawy become verbally abusive toward two women at Milford's Dimmick Inn, Dawn Jorgenson – the wife of John Jorgenson, the owner of the bar – and Joey Lynn Smith, a bartender there.

Martucci also said he saw Ashmawy physically assaulting Dawn Jorgenson and Christina Floyd, another woman at the bar, a claim echoed in police statements given by the women and reviewed by FP.

According to a three-page statement dated March 12, 2015, Dawn Jorgenson said she witnessed Ashmawy "clearly sexually harassing" the bartender throughout the course of the evening and saw his behavior spiral toward physical violence. "You'll give me drinks, but you won't [f---] me," Ashmawy allegedly said to the bartender, according to Dawn Jorgenson's written statement.

She said she then saw Ashmawy block the bartender with his body and curse at her, and grab her by the wrists. Dawn Jorgenson said when she tried to intervene, Ashmawy turned against her. "He's holding my wrist so tightly that he falls down to the ground landing to the left of me," she wrote in her statement.

She said her husband, John Jorgenson, came over to help and pulled Ashmawy away, taking him outside.

In statements given to police, the third woman, Christina Floyd, provided a similar account. "I watched each time Omar would come down and verbally sexually harass the bartender as he ordered drinks," Floyd wrote in her statement, describing an increasingly angry Ashmawy confronting the bartender.

A real charmer, that one.

Ashmawy also sent a letter to the prosecutor in Pennsylvania demanding that those involved in the altercation be prosecuted.  He sent the letter on his official House stationery:

An email reviewed by FP from Ashmawy, using his congressional affiliation, to the police chief and officials at the district attorney's office accuses them of not handling the case properly.

"As of today it has been over five weeks since I was assaulted. To date, the police department's investigation is not complete and charges have not been filed. I am deeply concerned," he wrote in the email, which is signed with his congressional title and work mail address.

Ashmawy cites his injuries, which he said included a facial fracture and a "bruised and bloodied" eye.

In the same email, Ashmawy references his own work conducting investigations, and indicates that if charges aren't filed the case might attract high-level attention in the capital.

This is a clear case of Ashmawy trying to intimidate local officials using the power of his office. 

So who watches the watchdog?  Obviously, Ashmawy is unfit to serve in his current capacity.  You can't have someone accused of sexual harassment investigating congressmen accused of the same charge.  But the bar incident occurred in 2015, and somehow, Ashmawy's superiors never got wind of what happened that night.  He has been investigating several congressmen, including Rep. John Conyers, who was forced to resign after several accusers came forward.  Are those investigations now tainted because of his reported behavior?

The accusatory environment in which these charges of sexual assault are being brought demands investigators above reproach.  Ashmawy fails that test and should be fired.

RECENT VIDEOS