Until Monday night, Democratic darling Eric Schneiderman was considered a longtime champion of women's rights and most recently, of the #MeToo movement.
But that façade came crumbling down when Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, was accused of physical abuse by four women who have had romantic relationships or encounters with him in the past.
In a bombshell report published by The New Yorker, the women accused New York State’s highest-ranking law-enforcement official of subjecting them to various forms of nonconsensual physical violence, including hitting and choking them. Two of the women alleged that Schneiderman threatened to kill them if they ended their relationship with him. After the alleged assaults, the women had to seek medical attention.
In a statement to the New Yorker, he said: "In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross."
But the women alleged the violence often took place in non-sexual settings.
"I want to make it absolutely clear," Manning Barish, one of Schneiderman's accusers, told the New Yorker about the first time he assaulted her. "This was under no circumstances a sex game gone wrong. This did not happen while we were having sex. I was fully dressed and remained that way. It was completely unexpected and shocking. I did not consent to physical assault."
And when Schneiderman's alleged violent behavior took place in an intimate setting, the women said it was non-consensual. Tanya Selvaratnam told The New Yorker: "It wasn’t consensual. This wasn’t sexual playacting. This was abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior."
In the wake of the allegations, several prominent political figures, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called either for Schneiderman's resignation or an investigation into his actions. Three hours after the publication of the piece, Schneiderman stepped down from his post.
“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” he said in a statement. “I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”
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