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Morelle confronts controversial remarks by former state assembly staffer

Morelle confronts controversial remarks by former state assembly staffer

May 24, 2018 06:11 AM

A former state assembly staffer is calling out Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle for not believing her rape claim 17 years ago.

The staffer, Elizabeth Crothers, joined Rachel Barnhart Wednesday.

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Both Barnhart and Morelle are running as Democrats for the 25th Congressional Seat.

Crothers said she was raped in 2001 by Michael Boxley, chief counsel to then-speaker of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Crothers said when she reported the incident to her superiors, Morelle told the press he didn't believe a word of her claim.

Two years later, Boxley was arrested for sexually assaulting a different woman and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

"He was wrong. He never apologized, never said he was wrong (12) years later, even the now former speaker Silver apologized. Joe never did," Crothers said.

The former staffer would continue to stay, "I don't think Mr. Morelle should be in Congress."

Morelle issued the following response Wednesday following Crothers' press conference Wednesday:

"In 2001, I made a mistake by speaking without full knowledge of the situation regarding Ms.Crothers. I am truly sorry for the insensitive comment I made.

The culture of sexual harassment and assault occurring in workplaces throughout the country is abhorrent and appalling. I cannot imagine the pain that Ms.Crothers and all victims of such abuse are experiencing. It is critical that we continue to empower women who have experienced harassment or abuse to come forward and ensure abusers are held accountable.

I have fought throughout my career to champion policies that advance and protect women’s rights and recently led the way in creating a new, comprehensive sexual harassment prevention policy in the Assembly extending to all employers in New York State. I remain committed to strengthening protections and support programs for victims of abuse and sexual harassment, holding abusers accountable, and advancing policies that ensure a safer and more fair work environment for all women.”

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