California congresswoman alleges sexual harassment on Capitol Hill

"It's time to throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior," Speier said.

— -- A California congresswoman said she is sharing her personal experience with sexual harassment in the hopes of inspiring current and former congressional staffers to do the same.

Speier confirmed to ABC News that the man the allegation was directed at was Joe Holsinger, the chief of staff for former Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif. Holsinger was around 50 at the time of the incident, Speier said, and she was in her mid-20s. Holsinger died in 2004.

Speier continued in the video, “Many of us in Congress know what it’s like because Congress has been a breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long.”

"I know what it’s like to keep these things hidden deep down inside,” Speier said in the video, adding, "I know what it's like to remember that rush of humiliation and anger."

Several female senators shared their stories of the sexual harassment they say they have experienced on NBC News' "Meet the Press" as well, although none of the incidents occurred on Capitol Hill.

"He looked at me and he paused and he said, 'Well, did you bring your knee pads?'" McCaskill said.

Sexual harassment claims on Capitol Hill are handled by the Congressional Office of Compliance, under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. A staffer has 180 days after the alleged incident to file for counseling. After 30 days of counseling, the employee can request private mediation with their office to resolve the matter.

If the employee and the office can’t reach a resolution, there are two options to pursue: an employee can either file an administrative complaint and have their case heard by a hearing officer in a private setting, or file a lawsuit in federal district court.

Of the 49 new requests filed in the fiscal year 2016 for counseling, aside from discipline, sexual harassment was the issue raised most often by victims, according to a 2016 report from the Congressional Office of Compliance.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., today introduced the Congressional Sexual Training Act, which would require all congressional offices to train their employees on sexual harassment prevention.

Rep. Lawrence said in a statement that she believes “it is unconscionable that every congressional office is not required to participate in this simple training solution that is already available.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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