Kirsten Gillibrand blasted for handling of aide's sexual harassment claims

Kirsten Gillibrand blasted for handling of aide's sexual harassment claims”

New York Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand is facing questions over how she handled a sexual harassment claim made by one of her aides.

The female staffer wrote a letter to Gillibrand after she resigned and accused her of going against her public support of #MeToo in her office's handling of the sexual harassment investigation and its aftermath.

Gillibrand's office has put staffers through three sexual harassment training sessions, according to the report that identified one that occurred last July.

The staff member's resignation included a letter she wrote to Gillibrand and two top aides in August in which she describes frustration over the office's response to allegations of harassment and intimidation against the co-worker, Abbas Malik, a former special assistant to the NY senator.

The staffer who made the accusation told the news outlet that Bradley and Gillibrand's chief of staff, Jess Fassler, told her the situation was a "misinterpretation" and basically just a "he said, she said", which is why the accused wasn't fired.

In other words, though the woman resigned in August a year ago and sent Gillibrand a long resignation letter to explain why, the Champion of the Sisterhood didn't fire the out-of-control staffer until Politico knocked at her door with an arm-long rap sheet.

She told Politico in a statement, "As I have long said, when allegations are made in the workplace, we must believe women so that serious investigations can actually take place, we can learn the facts, and there can be appropriate accountability". I was devalued, ' the aide wrote in her email. However, the former staffer says that they didn't enlist a third party to investigate the claims, which Gillibrand has repeatedly advocated in other contexts, nor did they contact former staffers the woman said could corroborate Malik's behavior.

The aide was sacked after Politico presented the office with additional allegations.

The former aide, who requested to stay anonymous to avoid retaliation, resigned in August, emailing Gillibrand her reasons for leaving. Besides, she added, "I told her that we loved her at the time".

She's making the fight against sexual assault and harassment a key component of her Democratic presidential campaign.

"When I had the courage to speak up about my harasser, I was belittled by her office and treated like an inconvenience", the woman told Politico. She went on to criticize the senator's office's handling of the matter, saying that she "offered [her] resignation because of how poorly the investigation and post-investigation was handled".

Fassler allegedly told the woman that she had misstepped too and risked being fired, including when she "fed" alcohol to Malik in one instance when they grabbed drinks in the Capitol's courtyard. "That's exactly what happened at every step of this case past year", the senator explained. That's a relatively recent shift for the senator, who once had a reputation for more moderate politics.

Two more staffers who worked for Gillibrand said the woman's claims of Malik's inappropriate workplace behavior matched their own experiences.

That puts her level of support below that of New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio, who is rumored to be interested in running for president but hasn't declared, and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, whose name recognition among voters is nearly non-existent. Al Franken (D., Minn.) to step down over sexual misconduct allegations in 2017, which left bitter feelings about her with some top donors.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Gillibrand's office for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

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