This guy didn’t focus his harassment on any one gender, as allegations include complaints involving both male and female employees.
Via State of Politics:
New York State’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics has launched an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Assemblyman Micah Kellner. Sources say subpoenas have been delivered to individuals who used to work for Kellner. The Assemblyman is currently running for City Council in his Upper East Side Manhattan District.
Kellner is accused of harassing at least two employees between 2009 and 2011. One was female the other was male. Kellner is the only openly bi-sexual member of the Assembly. The matter was referred to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office in June by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, who said she had heard “rumors”. Silver fired staff Attorney Bill Collins after learning he had known about the allegations but did not follow proper reporting procedures.
That last sentence isn’t entirely true, however. Collins appeared to step down due to the Kellner incident, but was apparently prepared to retire anyway.
Kellner’s former chief-of-staff brought 15 pages of online chat transcripts to Collins four years ago, allegedly demonstrating the inappropriate behavior. Collins never followed up, and Silver claims, never informed the Speaker of the allegations. Silver said that he first heard about it in June, but kept Collins on the payroll for several weeks afterward. In fact, Collins is due to receive a paycheck until mid-August.
Even if Silver wasn’t aware of these allegations, a stretch to say the least, Collins’ penchant for covering up sexual harassment cases under his guidance was already well known. Collins played a key role in the recent $103,000 settlement involving Vito Lopez, a settlement which investigations have revealed allowed Lopez to continue harassing other women.
Collins was also accused of sending a threatening letter to a former aide in 2003, who accused Silver’s then-chief counsel Michael Boxley of raping her. Collins threatened her to keep quiet when another Boxley victim was starting to come forward.
As the leader of his party, Governor Cuomo must demonstrate that he is serious about protecting the rights of Assembly workers, including the right to go through a work day without being harassed by their employer. It’s time Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor to investigate sexual abuse in the Assembly, and particularly the Speaker’s role in allowing it to flourish.