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New York attorney general resigns in wake of sexual assault allegations

Ramya Kumar, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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ABC News reports that on Tuesday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned after four women have come forth with allegations of sexual abuse.

The New Yorker published an article detailing the abuse that Schneiderman inflicted upon each of the women. The article mentions that four women have come forth, stating that the attorney subjected them to nonconsensual sexual acts and physical violence. The New Yorker reports that two of the four women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, spoke on record; the other two women spoke off the record, through Manning Barish and Selvaratnam.

According to the New Yorker, Schneiderman 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.” British’s accounts of her relationship with Schneiderman contradict his statement.

Soon after her relationship with the attorney general began, British noticed controlling and abusive behavior which quickly turned to physical violence. In a statement to the New Yorker, British said, “All of a sudden, he just slapped me, open-handed and with great force, across the face, landing the blow directly onto my ear…It was horrendous. It just came out of nowhere. My ear was ringing. I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed. I sprang up, but at this point there was very little room between the bed and him. I got up to try to shove him back, or take a swing, and he pushed me back down. He then used his body weight to hold me down, and he began to choke me. The choking was very hard. It was really bad. I kicked. In every fiber, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”

Selvaratnam described the abuse she suffered at the hands of Schneiderman to the New Yorker: “‘He was cutting off my ability to breathe,’ she says. Eventually, she says, ‘we could rarely have sex without him beating me.’” She described Schneiderman as “a misogynist and a sexual sadist…the emotional and verbal abuse started increasing,” she says, and “the belittling and demeaning of me carried over into our nonsexual encounters.” Schneiderman’s abuse towards Selvaratnam became bigoted and hate-driven: “Sometimes, he’d tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka, has dark skin, and she recalls that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”

ABC News reports that Schneiderman repeatedly denied the abuse, however, Schneiderman gave this statement: “It’s been my great honor and privilege to serve as Attorney General for the people of the State of New York,” Schneiderman said on Monday night. “In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me. 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. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

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New York attorney general resigns in wake of sexual assault allegations