Republican US Representative Tom Reed, who has been mulling a challenge to Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, apologized to a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct and said he would not run for office next year.
Reed was accused by a former insurance company lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, of inappropriately placing his hand on her during a networking trip in Minneapolis in 2017, the Washington Post reported on Friday.
"I apologize to Nicolette Davis," the Congressman said in a statement here released on Twitter on Sunday.
"I hear her voice and will not dismiss her," he said, adding he would retire in January 2023, as previously announced.
Davis, who now serves in the US military, texted a co-worker during the incident saying "a drunk congressman is rubbing my back", according to the newspaper.
"HELP HELP," Davis texted, according to the Post.
Reed, who had earlier dismissed Davis' account of his actions as "inaccurate," said in his latest statement that upon reflection "my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant."
"I want to share that this (incident) occurred at a time in my life when I was struggling," he added.
Davis could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reed, 49, was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2010 and has gained a reputation of being a moderate Republican willing to work with Democrats on some issues.
Reed told Fox News in February he was "seriously considering" running against Cuomo for New York Governor.
Democratic Cuomo, who would be up for re-election in November 2022, is under increasing pressure to resign following a series of allegations of sexual misconduct and that he had concealed the number of New York state nursing home deaths related to the Covid-19 pandemic.