It wasn’t too long ago that one journalist referred to the Capitol of New York as “the most sexually abusive workplace in the nation.” With that in mind, and with another day gone by, a brand new bombshell report from the New York Times reveals that a Democrat in Sheldon Silver’s Assembly caucus has been accused of sexual harassment of young female aides.
And the accusations never saw the light of day.
Just like Vito Lopez before him, Assemblyman Micah Kellner, a Manhattan Democrat, was never investigated. Instead, his two staff members became just a pair of statistics in the ongoing War on Women being conducted by Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver, along with his Democratic colleagues in New York.
As the leader of his party, Governor Cuomo must demonstrate that he is serious about protecting the rights of women, including the right to go through a work day without being harassed by your employer. It’s time Cuomo appointed a special prosecutor to investigate sexual abuse in the Assembly.
Via the New York Times:
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office said Tuesday that a top Assembly lawyer would step down amid revelations that the Assembly staff failed to investigate sexual harassment claims involving another Assembly Democrat.
Four years ago, a junior staff member in Assemblyman Micah Z. Kellner’s office complained to her supervisor that she was being harassed by Mr. Kellner, an Upper East Side Democrat. The supervisor, a top aide to Mr. Kellner, reported the matter to Bill Collins, who, as counsel to the majority party, ran the Assembly’s legal staff. The senior Kellner aide presented Mr. Collins with 15 pages of Internet chat transcripts, in which Mr. Kellner made suggestive remarks to the junior staff member, a woman in her early 20s who was new to the job.
Mr. Kellner encouraged the woman to play Scrabble with him on Facebook while conversing through the Google Talk Internet messaging service. In one exchange that took place well after midnight, Mr. Kellner told the woman that he had hired her because “you were cute during the interview.” He asked if she had a boyfriend and told her, “I guess secretly I didn’t want you to have one,” adding, “I like being the only man in your life” and “Don’t cheat on me.”
“I wouldn’t mind falling asleep with you but not remotely,” he wrote. “Did I offend?”
The report appears to have stopped at Mr. Collins’s desk. The Assembly’s staff never began a formal inquiry, and the matter was not referred to the Assembly’s ethics committee, in keeping with a longstanding practice in the chamber of shielding members from embarrassment.
Mr. Silver’s reputation has been tarnished over the years by how his staff handled a series of harassment and sexual assault episodes involving Assembly members, most recently a harassment scandal involving Vito J. Lopez, a former assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic chairman.
With Silver unwilling to resign and Cuomo unwilling to pressure him, the last option to oust the Assembly Leader rests with Democrats in the Majority Conference. Assemblyman, Bill Nojay explains that, “Under rules of the State Assembly, only his fellow Democrats in the Majority Conference, who elected him in January, can now remove him from office.”
He added that unfortunately, “Only 2 out of 107 Democrats have called for him to resign”.
Two Democrats. Two Democrats, willing to stand up for victims of sexual abuse in the workplace. Two Democrats, willing to truly support women’s equality. While 105 of their colleagues and a timid governor, continue to wage a true war on women … through silence.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin says that these are the ones “who are hostile to women’s rights.”
The message they are sending is clear,” he said. “As long as their progressive agenda marches on, any women that get hurt along the way are expendable.”