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Thomas' accuser stands by account

October 03, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Anita Hill, whose sexual harassment allegations against Clarence Thomas nearly derailed his Supreme Court nomination 16 years ago, said Tuesday she stood by her account of his behavior, disputing Thomas' assertion in a new book that the charges were politically motivated.

"I stand by my testimony" at a 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination, Hill wrote in an opinion article in the New York Times. "I will not stand by silently and allow him, in his anger, to reinvent me.

"Our legal system will suffer if a sitting justice's vitriolic pursuit of personal vindication discourages others from standing up for their rights," Hill wrote.

In his book, "My Grandfather's Son," Thomas says Hill, his former employee at the Education Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was a mediocre employee who was used by political opponents to make claims that she had been sexually harassed.

Powerful interest groups were out to stop him at all costs and chose "the age-old blunt instrument of accusing a black man of sexual misconduct," he writes.

Thomas described Hill as touchy and apt to overreact.

Hill, who is also black, disputed Thomas' assertions.

"I was truthful. What I described happened actually did happen, and what I've learned is that it's happened to many women in the workplace," Hill said in an interview Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

She said she believes the workplace environment is better now for women, but added that Thomas' approach "is really so typical of people accused of wrongdoing. They trash their accusers."

In the 1991 hearings, Thomas adamantly denied Hill's accusations that he made inappropriate sexual remarks, including references to pornographic movies.

Thomas says he did talk about X-rated movies while at Yale Law School, but so did other young people at the time.

Hill is now a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University.

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