An anti-sexual harassment group of former legislative staffers blasted the Democratic-led Assembly for stalling a package deal of payments that will shield abuse survivors and for “providing cover” for embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo over sexual misconduct accusations.
The Sexual Harassment Working Group despatched a scathing letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Nassau) overseeing the Cuomo impeachment inquiry, complaining about foot-dragging on a package deal of payments that already handed handed the Democrat-run Senate.
Members of the group are former legislative staffers sexually harassed or who witnessed abuse by late Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez and different lawmakers.
“We are very familiar with the patterns of this chamber to block, delay, and run out the clock on survivors and the legislation that would protect them as a means of providing cover for serial abusers,” the Sexual Harassment Working Group wrote Thursday.
The group additionally criticized the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry of Cuomo, which incorporates analyzing harassment accusations feminine staffers leveled towards the governor.
“And even now, the chamber appears to be providing that same cover for Governor Cuomo, the Assembly is running an ill-conceived, parallel investigation into nearly a dozen reports of sexual misconduct against Governor Cuomo … By failing to pass this package of bills … the Assembly is continuing a 20-year practice of protecting abusers and the institutions that shelter them,” the group mentioned.
On the highest of the checklist of payments the Assembly is accused of slow-walking is the Adult Survivors Act — which the state Senate unanimously handed earlier Thursday — which might give victims who have been abused after they 18 or older recourse to file civil lawsuits towards their abusers. It would create a one-year look again window for survivors to file civil fits — akin to the Child Victims Act.
Another proposed regulation authored by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) would prohibit the retaliatory disclosure of worker personnel information — in direct response to the Cuomo administration’s launch of Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan’s personnel data. It handed the Senate unanimously.
Gounardes mentioned the discharge of Boylan’s personnel information final December represents a “high profile” instance of what the invoice would forestall.
Boylan, a former state financial improvement adviser, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment final December and claimed the administration retaliated towards her by releasing inner memos detailing work complaints throughout her time in state service.
Cuomo denied harassing Boylan and his workplace defended the discharge of the data as applicable.
Other measures that handed the Senate final week however nonetheless are bottled up in Assembly committee embrace: extending the statute of limitations to file for employment discrimination from three years to 6 years: ban “no rehire” clauses in settlement agreements for employees that filed a harassment declare towards an employer; extending anti-discrimination protections to legislative and judicial workers beneath the state Human Rights regulation; and bar monetary penalties towards harassment victims who communicate out after signing non-disclosure agreements;
One member of the group, Elizabeth Crothers, who reported that she was raped by a high aide to now-imprisoned former Speaker Sheldon Silver 20 years in the past, mentioned it’s time for the Assembly to do the proper factor and cease masking up for abusers.
“Twenty years ago, as a 24-year-old staff member of the Assembly, I was raped by the Chief Counsel to then-Speaker Silver. I was stunned when The Speaker told me that his first priority was to the ‘protect the institution,’ an institution that he and others continue to protect even after the same Chief counsel was arrested for raping another assembly staffer just two years later,” Crothers mentioned in a press release to The Post.
“This is the exact same establishment that – bizarrely sufficient – tasked itself with investigating quite a few allegations of sexual misconduct towards Governor Cuomo. And it’s the identical establishment that to date has did not cross payments that will assist survivors, such because the Adult Survivors Act.
Heastie and Lavine had no fast remark.