NY AG Schneiderman Accused of Assault; Resigns

[Content Note: Descriptions of assault.]

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has doggedly pursued Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump, among others, was accused last night by four women of assault.

Jane Mayer and Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker report:
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."
As Andi Zeisler noted on Twitter: "This shouldn't even need to be said but: Kink is a two-way street. It's not just whatever you decide it is." Exactly so.

Schneiderman resigned after publication of the allegations last night, issuing a brief statement: "While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office's work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018."

The old "these false allegations have become a distraction" chestnut. Oh.

Schneiderman is the latest in a long line of liberal men who have publicly championed women's rights and safety while privately harming women, including fellow New York public servants Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner.

It is profoundly disappointing that yet another man who invited women to trust him betrayed that trust.

Anyone who positions themselves as a pursuer of Donald Trump and/or his family and/or his associates has to be a better person than Trump. If they can't even manage even that low bar, they need to get the fuck out of the way for people who can.

I take up space in solidarity with Schneiderman's victims.

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