Rushing to Judgment on Scott Stringer

On April 28, Jean Kim, a political lobbyist, accused Scott Stringer, New York Comptroller and leading progressive candidate in the upcoming Mayor’s Elementary School, of molesting and sexually assaulting her while she was interning in his unsuccessful campaign for a lawyer in 2001 was. Stringer vigorously denied her allegations. Without success: within two days he had lost the support of the Working Families Party, the Jewish Vote, the Sunrise Movement and individual progressive allies, including the US representative Jamaal Bowman and the Senators Jessica Ramos, Alessandra Biaggi – the latter both of the Stringer protégés – Julia Salazar and Gustavo Rivera. Yu-Line Niou Congregation members, Catalina Cruz, Representative Adriano Espaillat, Senator Jose Serrano, and others quickly followed. Maya Wiley and Dianne Morales, Stringer’s rivals on the left, challenged him to stop the race.

The Stringer campaign aggressively – perhaps too aggressively – denied Kim’s claim: she was not an intern, a term that means youth, inexperience and vulnerability; She was a 30 year old volunteer with a regular job elsewhere. The campaign strongly suggested that she was working for Andrew Yang. It posted donations for Stringer’s campaign made following the alleged events, as well as an email from Kim seeking a paid position for his 2013 run for Comptroller. Although Kim denied being associated with Stringer – claiming they were friends and had a brief “light” relationship –The interception quoted nameless people who remembered seeing them hang out together.

In response, Kim’s fiancé Anthony Caifano said, said WNYC that she had mentioned the alleged incidents to him in 2014 after an exciting encounter with Stringer at a political event. A stringer advised me that Caifano’s words and Kim’s reinforcements seemed to be tailored to address certain points in the Intercept Items. (She only applied for the 2013 job at Stringer to give him “right of first refusal” so he wouldn’t be angry with her if she worked for his opponent Eliot Spitzer. Hmm …)

How is an ordinary person supposed to find out about this situation? I’ve spoken to a number of female Democrats, most of whom are involved in urban politics, to get their views. On the one hand, as many Kim followers have reminded me, most of the allegations of harassment and sexual assault are true: women have a lot to lose by getting in touch. On the other hand, “most allegations” are not every allegation. In addition, in #metoo cases, more women usually get in touch as soon as a woman speaks. So far, for example, 11 women have accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of harassment. No other woman has made such claims about Stringer. Usually the prosecutor also has some kind of simultaneous confirmation – notes or diary entries, people saying she told them about the incident at the time it happened. Even Tara Reade had people confirming that she had told them she was upset about something that had happened in the office of then Senator Joe Biden. In Kim’s case, there is only her fiancé, who reports things she said 13 years after the alleged events. (In recent development, Kim’s sister told The New York Times that “she remembered that Jean Kim became” withdrawn and stressed “sometime in 2001 after being” very excited “about Mr. Stringer’s campaign.”)

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