NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who once volunteered for City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer accused him Wednesday of groping her without consent two decades ago.
Stringer, a Democrat, denied it and said the two had a consensual relationship.
Speaking near Stringer’s Manhattan office, Jean Kim said that in 2001, when Stringer was a member of the state Assembly, he “relentlessly” pursued a sexual relationship with her.
She said that as they traveled together by taxi to events, “Scott Stringer repeatedly groped me, put his hands on my thighs and between my legs, and demanded to know why I wouldn’t have sex with him.”
Kim, who is in her 40s, has worked as a publicist, lobbyist and political consultant. She said she was telling her story now because seeing Stringer campaign for mayor as a champion for women “sickens me when I know the truth.”
The comptroller denied Kim’s accusation, saying: “I didn’t do this.”
“This isn’t me,” he said at his own news conference later Wednesday, accompanied by his wife, Elyse Buxbaum. The two married in 2010.
Stringer said he and Kim had a relationship for “a couple of months” during the 2001 campaign, while he was single. While Kim said she was an unpaid intern, Stringer described her as a volunteer.
He said they remained on amicable terms until she sought a role in his 2013 campaign for comptroller and he “could not find a role for her.”
In a statement earlier, Stringer said Kim’s allegations “do not reflect my interactions with anyone, including any woman or member of my staff.”
Stringer, who turns 61 on Thursday, has been in elected office since he joined the state Assembly in 1993.
He has campaigned as a champion of women’s rights and has called on Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign over sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Three women lawmakers who have endorsed Stringer’s mayoral campaign said in a statement Wednesday that they “believe survivors.”
Democratic state Sens. Alessandra Biaggi and Julia Salazar and Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou said, “Our commitment to a harassment free government, workplace and society is steadfast, and our zero tolerance standard regarding sexual assault applies to abusers like Andrew Cuomo, if not more so, to our friends.”
Stringer is one of more than a dozen Democratic contenders in the mayoral race, in which the large field is trying to overcome early name recognition of Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate.
Others include Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Maya Wiley, a former MSNBC analyst and legal counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and former Citigroup executive Raymond McGuire.
The party primary is June 22.
The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.