US Congressman resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

Washington: US House Representative Trent Franks charged with sexual harassment by his former aides, has announced that he was resigning immediately instead of early next year.

In a statement on Friday, Franks said he moved forward the date of his resignation after his wife was hospitalised for “an ongoing ailment”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“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, December 8, 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.

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

Franks’ resignation comes also after a report on Friday said that he has offered a former aide $5 million to act as a surrogate for his child.

Another report on Friday said 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 on Thursday said it was opening an investigation into allegations against Franks.

A spokesman said that it was likely Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will wait until December 11 to announce the dates for a special election for Franks’ replacement.