No charges vs. Sch­nei­der­man

Ex-AG apol­o­gizes as abuse case dropped

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY DE­NIS SLAT­TERY

For­mer New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man, who was forced out of of­fice af­ter four women he dated ac­cused him of as­sault­ing them, will not face crim­i­nal charges, pros­e­cu­tors said Thurs­day.

The Nas­sau County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case by Gov. Cuomo, found the women and their al­le­ga­tions cred­i­ble, but noted there were ob­sta­cles in the way of fil­ing charges against the dis­graced elected of­fi­cial.

“I be­lieve the women who shared their ex­pe­ri­ences with our in­ves­ti­ga­tion team,” Nas­sau County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Made­line Sin­gas wrote in a state­ment. “(H) ow­ever le­gal im­ped­i­ments, in­clud­ing statutes of lim­i­ta­tions, pre­clude crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.”

Sch­nei­der­man stepped down from the state’s top law en­force­ment post in May af­ter sev­eral women whom he had been ro­man­ti­cally in­volved with ac­cused him of be­ing phys­i­cally abu­sive. Two of his ac­cusers claimed in a New Yorker ex­pose that Sch­nei­der­man choked, hit and slapped them dur­ing sex or af­ter he had been drink­ing.

The 63-year-old ini­tially de­nied be­ing abu­sive, say­ing that the vi­o­lence was con­sen­sual and ar­gu­ing that he had “en­gaged in role-play­ing” with the women.

On Thurs­day, he apol­o­gized and said he had spent time in a “re­hab” fa­cil­ity.

“I rec­og­nize that Dis­trict At­tor­ney Sin­gas’ de­ci­sion not to pros­e­cute does not mean I have done noth­ing wrong,” he said in a state­ment ob­tained by the Daily News. “I ac­cept full re­spon­si­bil­ity for my con­duct in my re­la­tion­ships with my ac­cusers, and for the im­pact it had on them.

“Af­ter spend­ing time in a re­hab fa­cil­ity, I am com­mit­ted to a life­long path of re­cov­ery and mak­ing amends to those I have harmed. I apol­o­gize for any and all pain that I have caused, and I apol­o­gize to the peo­ple of the State of New York for dis­ap­point­ing them af­ter they put their trust in me.”

One of his ac­cusers, Michelle Man­ning Bar­ish, said Thurs­day she felt “com­pletely vin­di­cated” by Sch­nei­der­man’s apol­ogy — and even wished him well.

“I feel com­pletely vin­di­cated by Eric Sch­nei­der­man’s ad­mis­sion that he en­gaged in the abuse to which he sub­jected me and the other women,” Man­ning Bar­ish tweeted.

“This is a vic­tory for all women, but we need more than words,” she added. “I wish him well in his re­cov­ery process.”

She also called on the fallen of­fi­cial to do­nate his un­used cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions “to groups that com­bat sex­ual vi­o­lence against women and pro­tect those who are harmed.”

Sch­nei­der­man’s cam­paign fund had about $7.4 mil­lion in its cof­fers as of July, ac­cord­ing to a cam­paign fi­nance re­port filed with the state. He had even more money stock­piled, but his cam­paign re­funded about $1 mil­lion in do­na­tions in the two months af­ter he quit.

The Demo­crat made a name for him­self as a cham­pion of women’s rights and a op­po­nent of Pres­i­dent Trump be­fore the dis­turb­ing al­le­ga­tions against him were made pub­lic.

New York City Pub­lic Ad­vo­cate Leti­tia James made his­tory on Tues­day by be­ing elected to re­place Sch­nei­der­man, be­com­ing the first black woman state at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Sev­eral prom­i­nent women’s rights ad­vo­cates slammed the DA’s de­ci­sion, call­ing on the state to amend cur­rent laws to aid abuse vic­tims.

“Mr. Schei­der­man is yet an­other pow­er­ful man who hasn’t been held ac­count­able in a court of law for his abuse of women,” So­nia Os­so­rio, the pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Women’s New York chap­ter.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion found no mis­con­duct by Sch­nei­der­man’s staff in the of­fice of the at­tor­ney gen­eral, but Sin­gas, who has spent much of her ca­reer work­ing on sex-crime pros­e­cu­tions,

called on the Leg­is­la­ture to take up a bill to “fill a gap” in state law “pre­cludes a pros­e­cu­tor from charg­ing a per­pe­tra­tor who slaps, punches, shoves, or kicks an­other per­son, with­out con­sent, for sex­ual grat­i­fi­ca­tion.”

Dis­graced New York At­tor­ney Gen­eral Eric Sch­nei­der­man said in a state­ment he didn't con­sider the de­ci­sion by the Nas­sau County dis­trict at­tor­ney not to file charges against him over abuse al­le­ga­tions an ex­on­er­a­tion.

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