Texas official out after post disparaging ‘pathetic’ women

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A top aide to Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton resigned Thursday after reports surfaced of him disparaging the stories of sexually harassed women as “pathetic” on Facebook.

Paxton spokesman Mark Rylander said views expressed by associate deputy attorney general Andrew Leonie on social media “do not reflect our values.” The announcement came hours after The Dallas Morning News reported comments posted on Leonie’s page about sexual harassment.

“Aren’t you also tired of all the pathetic `me too’ victim claims? If every woman is a `victim’, so is every man. If everyone is a victim, no one is. Victim means nothing anymore,” read the Facebook post published early Wednesday.

Leonie didn’t immediately respond to messages for comment through social media.

The post disappeared from his public Facebook page after his resignation was announced.

His resignation came on the same day the Texas Senate began publicly revising its own sexual harassment policies criticized as outdated and insufficient. Republican state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who is spearheading the revisions as chairwoman of the Senate Administration Committee, said even she might be hesitant to come forward under the current framework.

“It’s ambiguous enough that I would be hesitant to come forth with a complaint,” she said.

Rylander said the attorney general’s office is committed to a workplace “free from discrimination and harassment.” Paxton’s wife, Angela Paxton, is running as a Republican for the state Senate.

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