According to a report in The Daily Beast, women who work in and around the Texas state house maintain a secret list of men known to prey on female staffers, including some who have been accused of physical assault.
As reported by Olivia Messer, the “Burn Book of Bad Men,” spreadsheet contains 38 men named by anonymous female employees who have accused the listed men of being sexual predators.
According to the report, the offenses date back over 20 years and the men listed include campaign staffers, legislative aides and lawmakers.
The list was compiled by a woman identified as “Rebecca,” to protect her identity, who said she began compiling it online in 2016 after working in Texas politics for two years before leaving in disgust, calling the atmosphere “toxic and horrible.”
“I didn’t have any intention of sharing the list widely,” Rebecca explained. “It just started as a tool for people who are connected to the Texas political sphere to just kind of share with their friends.We’re not seeking retribution. It’s a signal for men to understand that we’re keeping tabs on this stuff and we’re talking about it. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum and these aren’t isolated incidents. We’re putting them on notice that you’re not going to be able to get away with this stuff without it being shared.”
In an interview with the Beast, one longtime Texas political reporter says she was continually propositioned by lawmakers.
According to Karen Brooks, who previously wrote for Dallas Morning News, one state senator asked her, “Why don’t you come over to my apartment and let me chase you around the room?” while another lawmaker told her, “I’ve been undressing you in my mind all session.”
Brooks also related a story about being physically assaulted by a lawmaker in a bar frequented by capital staffers, saying “The place was packed shoulder to shoulder with lobbyists and state reps,” and that the unidentified man “physically trapped me up against the bar and groped me. He had both of his hands working at once.”
She said she was able get help after he reached between her legs and patrons of the bar dragged him away, only to have him threaten her later, saying, “Bitch, I’m not done with you yet!”
Brooks said she never reported the incident out of fears of it impacting her job.
“I just knew that my effectiveness was going to be diminished,” she explained. “And I wasn’t going to let that guy—or any of these other guys with loose lips and drinking problems—keep me from doing the job I’d dreamed about since I was in second grade. I wasn’t going to let him take that away from me.”
You can read the whole report — along with multiple instances of sexual assault — here.