Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

NY IDC leader accused of sexual harassment

NY IDC leader accused of sexual harassment

"The fact that there was an environment that could make me doubt the self-confidence that I worked so hard to have-that I got from the strong women in my life-made me feel like it wasn't the place for me, and that maybe government wasn't for me", she told the Huffington Post, which first reported the allegations on Wednesday afternoon.

"I want to be crystal clear, this alleged incident never happened, nor did anything inappropriate happen in any fashion that evening, period", Klein said.

"He stepped back, I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said, 'You're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere, '" the woman says.

Klein said he didn't know the staffer well and recalled an exchange that night in which she repeatedly invited him to spend Passover with her family, a request he found oddly personal. But there are few options available under current law.

This year, state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have proposed a package of measures to reform the state's sexual harassment guidelines, as well as for companies that do business with the state.

Klein held a hastily called conference call with reporters to discuss the allegations shortly before the story was published. She says the case shows how badly NY needs a better system for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

"I pulled away and I said, 'Senator, absolutely not.'" she said. "We expect there to be an article about this, but no formal complaint was made".

Klein is one of the more powerful figures in Albany, having a seat at the table to negotiate the budget with the Senate majority leader and the Assembly speaker, along with the governor. "While it may be within the scope of other entities, an investigation into this matter is not within the jurisdiction of the Senate", Flanagan said in a statement.

After the two went outside the bar to smoke a cigarette, Vladimer told the Huffington Post, Klein looked over her shoulder, grabbed her head and "shoved his tongue down my throat".

"That's an inherent conflict", Lerner said.

Lerner says a new system needs to be created that is timely and fair to both the accused and the accuser. Former Assemblyman and now Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin was accused of sexually harassing a legislative aide. McLaughlin was sanctioned for sexual harassment but denies the charges.

On Thursday, Vladimer wrote on her Facebook page: "Sen".

"I find her to be a honest and credible person who was clearly very shaken about what happened to her that she made the decision to leave state government in Albany because of it", Krueger told HuffPost. He supports Klein's accuser and women with similar experiences.

Erica Vladimer told HuffPost the alleged incident happened in the early hours of April 1, 2015, when Klein and some of the staffers traveled to an Albany bar to celebrate their work on the budget. "He has hired an attorney to conduct an investigation, interview staff members who were there".

In a statement, State Senator David Carlucci, State Senator David Valesky, Queens State Senator Tony Avella, Brooklyn State Senator Jesse Hamilton, Upper Manhattan State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Peralta-all IDC members-said they have "complete confidence" in Klein, who they described as a champion for women and the state.

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