ALBANY — A former staffer has accused Bronx state Sen. Jeffrey Klein of forcibly kissing her — a charge the powerful pol vehemently denied.
The woman, Erica Vladimer, told HuffPost that Klein, who heads a breakaway group of eight Senate Democrats, “shoved his tongue” down her throat outside an Albany bar on April 1, 2015, as lawmakers and staff celebrated completion of the state budget.
“I pulled away and I said, ‘Senator, absolutely not.’” she told the HuffPost. “And he looked at me and said, with this stupid little grin on his face, ‘What? What?’ Like he was being coy, almost trying to flirt and play a game.”
Vladimer, who worked for Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference, left for a new job about a month later. She never filed a formal complaint.
The woman, Erica Vladimer, told HuffPost that Klein “shoved his tongue” down her throat outside an Albany bar on April 1, 2015.
In a conference call with reporters shortly before the story was published, Klein denied any inappropriate behavior. “I want to be crystal clear, this alleged incident never happened,” he said.
He said after being contacted by the HuffPost last Thursday, he an attorney who interviewed lawmakers and staff who were at the bar the night of the alleged incident and found no one who saw Klein kiss the woman.
One of those people interviewed was Klein’s longtime girlfriend and fellow Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island).
Savino, who was on the conference call with Klein, insisted the incident never occurred.
Politicians accused of sexual harassment or assault
“Those of you who know me know I would not have remained silent,” the tough-talking Savino said. “There would have been an incident that night.”
Klein’s lawyer in a letter outlining his findings said the woman cited the former staffer’s resignation letter that said she was “extremely grateful for the opportunity you provided me to work for the Independent Democratic Conference. The skills and knowledge I gained as a policy analyst and counsel will be invaluable as I move forward. I will miss everyone, but I know I have made a good decision. I wish you and the entire conference continued success. Thank you for your patience and cooperation with me during this time.”
Vladimer told the HuffPost that she’s not looking for Klein to resign, but instead use the incident to improve himself.
“I think Senator Klein needs to step up,” she said. “As a leader of a very powerful conference in the New York state legislature, he has the ability to effectuate change. We have the Senate Dems who put out legislative packages on sexual harassment, and the governor saying he’s going to discuss proposals. What’s the IDC going to do? What’s the GOP going to do?”
Source: Ny Daily News