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Virginia Thomas seeks apology from Anita Hill

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Excerpts from archive footage from Senate confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas in 1991.

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By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 20, 2010; 10:19 AM

It is one of Washington's enduring mysteries.

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Nearly two decades after Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his fractious Supreme Court confirmation hearing, it remains unclear who was lying.

Hill has maintained that she told the truth. Thomas, meanwhile, has steadfastly denied her accusations.

Now, Virginia Thomas, the justice's wife, has rekindled the controversy by leaving a voice mail message at Hill's Brandeis University office seeking an apology.

"Good morning Anita Hill, it's Ginni Thomas," said the message left this month, according to a transcript provided by ABC News. "I just want to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometimes and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband."

"I certainly thought the call was inappropriate," Hill, who worked for Clarence Thomas at the Department of Education and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions, said in a statement released by Brandeis, where she is a professor.

"I have no intention of apologizing because I testified truthfully about my experience and I stand by that testimony," she added.

Hill told reporters that she held onto the voice mail message for nearly a week as she weighed whether it was legitimate. Eventually, she turned it over to campus police with a request that it be sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI's Boston field office declined comment.

In her Senate testimony, Hill said that Thomas would make sexual comments to her at work, including references to scenes in hard-core pornographic films. Thomas angrily denied the allegations, memorably saying they amounted to a "high-tech lynching."

But Lillian McEwen, a former Senate Judiciary Committee lawyer who said she dated Clarence Thomas from 1979 through the mid-1980s, told The Washington Post in an interview that Hill's long-ago description of Thomas's behavior resonated with her.

"The Clarence I know was certainly capable not only of doing the things that Anita Hill said he did, but it would be totally consistent with the way he lived his personal life then," said McEwen, who is writing her own memoir but has never before publicly discussed her relationship with Clarence Thomas.

McEwen also told the Post she was not surprised that Virginia Thomas would leave Hill a message, even after all these years.


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