Assemblywoman: Sexually Harassed After Seminar on Harassment
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A state assemblywoman says she has been sexually harassed by male colleagues three times since 1988, including once just hours after a seminar on how to avoid harassment.
Assemblywoman Earlene Hill, 49, made her allegations Monday, before the Assembly unanimously approved a requirement that a sexual harassment monitoring program be maintained for employees.
She said the most recent episode occurred Dec. 9, the day all Assembly members were ordered to attend a seminar where experts told them how to avoid harassment.
Hill, a Democratic assemblywoman from Long Island since 1988, said a male colleague, while making a speech in a room of about 400 people, was citing statistics when he mistakenly said ″sex″ instead of ″six.″
″Then he looked at me and said something like, ’Whenever I think of Earlene, I think of sex,‴ Hill said.
She said when she confronted her colleague about the remark, he made a honking noise accompanied by a hand gesture toward her chest.
Hill said that in another instance, a male assemblyman threatened to throw her out of a window in 1989 after she asked him to leave her office. He had followed her into her office during a legislative session and she thought he wanted to talk about what the Assembly had done.
″He sat down and started to discuss his history with women and his sexual prowess,″ Hill said.
She said the third incident was a sexual remark by a colleague who sat near her in the state Assembly. Hill said her colleague insisted that she climb over him to get to her seat.
She did not identify the men.
Steven Greenberg, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin, said he could not comment on Hill’s charges because harassment complaints are kept confidential.
″We are all concerned,″ Assemblywoman Gloria Davis, head of the Legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, said Tuesday. ″I met with her and asked her if there was anything I could do. She said, ‘no’ and said she was sticking by her statements and I support her.″
Hill said she did not plan to lodge any complaints against the men who harassed her. She said making her experiences public would put the men on notice.
″I’m not going to suffer this in silence anymore,″ she said. ″If I don’t speak up, then they won’t realize it’s wrong and there will be a new victim.″