NY Sen. Jeff Klein responds to a sexual harassment claim


Erica Vladimer told HuffPost the alleged incident happened in the early hours of April 1, 2015, when Klein and some of the staffers traveled to an Albany bar to celebrate their work on the budget.

He is denying the story and had another senator with him on a conference call Wednesday stating that she saw the whole thing and did not witness anything. He said the following day another staffer mentioned a "rumor" about the alleged incident.

Vladimer told the Huffington Post that after being unable to maintain her composure, she left the bar and went to her friend's house at 4 a.m. and told her friend and her friend's fiance about the incident while crying.

Vladimer left her role a month later, she told The Huffington Post.

"It's definitely been one of the hotter topics in Albany for the time being", she said.

At the time, Vladimer, now 30, was working as a policy analyst and counsel for the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, an eight-member group of breakaway Democrats led by Klein, D-Bronx, who represents parts of lower Westchester County. "What's the GOP going to do?" she asked. She says while JCOPE is a "step in the right direction" it is also problematic, because JCOPE can only make recommendations to the legislature, leaving it to senators and assemblymembers to decide whether to enforce a judgment against a colleague.

In a statement, Peralta said he has fought to combat violence against women, human trafficking and sexual harassment.

Former Cuomo administration attorney Alessandra Biaggi says she is helping the Democratic Party after its 2016 losses by campaigning to oust her local Democratic senator. Vladimer said she and Klein did not usually interact.

"All of a sudden there was a hand on the back of my head and he shoved his tongue down my throat", she said. The IDC controls the majority in the State Senate in a coalition with Republicans, so Klein has undergone a lot of criticism from fellow Democrats and progressive activists. She said she felt ashamed that her first thought wasn't that Klein had done something inappropriate, but to worry that his girlfriend might have seen them. Prior to the release of those allegations in a Huffington Post article Wednesday evening, Klein denied the he kissed the staffer during a conference call with reporters.

"As a father, a husband and a son, I have fought to protect women throughout my entire life and will continue to do so", he said. "True Blue NY stands with Ms. Vladimer, who has bravely come forward against this powerful man to share her story".

"I find her to be a honest and credible person who was clearly very shaken about what happened to her that she made the decision to leave state government in Albany because of it", Krueger told HuffPost. They called for an independent probe and for Klein to resign. "It is shameful that anyone tries to attempt and use this to promote their candidacy".

Over the course of several conversations, Krueger and Vladimer explored whether to seek criminal charges against the senator, who Krueger said was still unknown to her. "This just drives home the need for a thorough review of policies to address sexual harassment and passage of legislative reforms proposed by the governor".

Vladimer has called on Klein to "step up", adding that if he doesn't, "then he should definitely step down".