WASHINGTON -- A former prostitute disputed Rep. Barney Frank's assertion that he did not know a brothel was being operated from his Capitol Hill apartment, Cable News Network reported Wednesday night.
The woman, whose identity was withheld, told CNN she worked for the prostitution ring operated by Stephen Gobie, a male prostitute and former acquaintance of the Massachusetts Democrat.
Frank's relationship with Gobie is the subject of an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which is trying to decide how to handle charges that the congressman associated with the male prostitute from 1985 to 1987.
There were reports last week the 12-member panel was divided along party lines about punishment for Frank. Democrats favored lenient measures, while Republicans want strong action.
Frank has acknowledged that he paid Gobie for sex and hired him to clean his house and drive his car, but the congressman said he fired Gobie after he learned of the prostitution ring.
Gobie admitted running the business and said Frank knew about the male-female ring while it was in operation.
The woman interviewed by CNN said she worked for the prostitution ring for three months and that Frank definitely knew the brothel existed.
'He would call and he would say 'Hi, it's me. I'm on my way in, are there any clients there?'' the woman said. She said Frank knew she took clients to his bedroom when he was not home and that he would ask if the house was in order before returning.
The new development could force the Ethics Committee to expand the formality of its investigation. CNN said the woman was to give a deposition to the panel on Thursday.
Frank, a Massachusetts congressman since 1980, has announced his bid for re-election.