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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who positioned himself as a combatant of sexual harassment and abuse in the #MeToo era and a major opponent of President Donald Trump, abruptly announced his resignation Monday after four women accused him of physical violence and illicit drug and alcohol use.
Schneiderman, a Democrat, stepped down hours after a New Yorker article was published Monday evening detailing allegations that he repeatedly slapped, choked and degraded women with whom he had been romantic with.
The New Yorker, which shared a Pulitzer Prize last month with The New York Times for stories about sexual harassment, reports that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment, has been accused of physically abusing four women — leading Gov. Cuomo to call for his resignation.
According to The New Yorker the accusers charged that Schneiderman “repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent.” As New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, Schneiderman, who is sixty-three, has used his authority to take legal action against the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein, and to demand greater compensation for the victims of Weinstein’s alleged sexual crimes.
At least two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, categorized the abuse as “assault.” The other two women declined to be identified because they feared reprisal, the magazine said. Barish and Selvaratnam did not report the allegations to the police, but both said they sought medical attention after they were slapped hard across the ear and face.
As his prominence as a voice against sexual misconduct has risen, so, too, has the distress of four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters. They accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal. But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women. They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent. Manning Barish and Selvaratnam categorize the abuse he inflicted on them as “assault.” They did not report their allegations to the police at the time, but both say that they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked. Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him. (Schneiderman’s spokesperson said that he “never made any of these threats.”)
A third former romantic partner of Schneiderman’s told Manning Barish and Selvaratnam that he also repeatedly subjected her to nonconsensual physical violence, but she told them that she is too frightened of him to come forward. (The New Yorker has independently vetted the accounts that they gave of her allegations.) A fourth woman, an attorney who has held prominent positions in the New York legal community, says that Schneiderman made an advance toward her; when she rebuffed him, he slapped her across the face with such force that it left a mark that lingered the next day. She recalls screaming in surprise and pain, and beginning to cry, and says that she felt frightened. She has asked to remain unidentified, but shared a photograph of the injury with The New Yorker.
In a statement, Schneiderman said, “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.”
Source The New Yorker, New York Times