Energy Dept. clarifies Perry's sexual assault comments

Energy Dept. clarifies Perry's sexual assault comments
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The Energy Department on Thursday said Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Defense: Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy | Trump, Macron downplay rift on Iran | Trump mourns West Point cadet's death in accident | Pentagon closes review of deadly Niger ambush Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' MORE’s comments on fossil fuels and sexual assault were meant to highlight the importance of electricity to parts of Africa.

“The secretary was making the important point that while many Americans take electricity for granted there are people in other countries who are impacted by their lack of electricity,” spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.

Perry said Thursday morning that fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault in Africa by electrifying more of the continent.

“When the lights are on, when you have light that shines, the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts,” he said. “From the standpoint of how you really affect people’s lives, fossil fuels are going to play a role in that. I happen to think it’s going to play a positive role.”

Perry was in Africa last week for an energy conference. During his visit, he met with African groups and citizens who told him about the urgent need for electricity in impoverished parts of the continent.

“One person told him about how light can be a deterrent to sexual assault and security in remote areas,” Hynes said.

“Another leader told him about how women in their country have to go to the store every day for a new carton of milk because they don't have a working refrigerator. Those powerful stories stuck with him and that is what he was sharing with the crowd in Washington today.”