Brooklyn state Sen. Kevin Parker has been accused of raping a woman in 2004, early in his tenure as a state legislator, according to a new lawsuit filed against him last week.
The lawsuit was filed in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Friday by Olga Jean-Baptiste, who says Parker raped her at her apartment after discussing relief efforts for Haiti following devastating flooding in the Caribbean nation in 2004.
In her suit, Jean-Baptiste — who was 31 years old at the time of the alleged incident — says she coordinated with Parker’s office to deliver aid to Haiti following the floods, which killed some 3,000 people in the country that year. Parker, a Democrat, was in the middle of his first term in the state Senate representing the Flatbush area, which has a considerable population hailing from Haiti and other parts of the Caribbean.
After she returned from a trip to Haiti to deliver supplies, Parker suggested meeting Jean-Baptiste at her apartment to pick up photos and discuss the work she undertook, according to the lawsuit. They reviewed the trip for a few minutes in her living room and exchanged photos — but when Jean-Baptiste says she rose to say goodbye, she found herself paralyzed with fear when Parker allegedly grabbed hold of both of her wrists.
Jean-Baptiste then alleges Parker took her down the hallway of her apartment to her bedroom, where he made a sexual remark and laid her face-down on her bed. At that point, Jean-Baptiste claims Parker raped her.
The plaintiff says she never consented to any of the sexual acts which she alleges Parker forced upon her.
“Ms. Jean-Baptiste survived unspeakable sexual abuse perpetrated by Sen. Parker — and continues to suffer from the trauma that only survivors of unwanted sexual assaults can fully understand,” said Jean-Baptiste’s attorney, Bob Hilliard, in a statement. “The allegations are set out within Ms. Jean-Baptiste’s lawsuit. A jury will hear firsthand the full details and horribleness of what happened.”
A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins called the allegations “extremely disturbing.”
“These allegations are extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously,” said the spokesperson, Mike Murphy. “And we will continue to monitor this situation and we will take appropriate action as more information is learned.”
Jean-Baptiste filed her suit against Parker under the state’s Adult Survivors Act, which lifted the statute of limitations for one year to allow adult victims of sexual abuse to sue their abusers in civil court, for actions committed at any point in the past. The one-year window is set to expire this week, and state courts are seeing a flood of new suits to beat the deadline.
The Adult Survivors Act was modeled after the Child Victims Act, which opened a similar “look-back window” for victims of child sexual abuse and resulted in a flood of suits. The most notable defendant in those suits was the Roman Catholic Church: six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy since the law’s onset.
In contrast, suits have been filed under the Adult Survivors Act against numerous high-profile individuals. Former President Donald Trump, rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, and comedians Bill Cosby and Russell Brand are defendants in some of the more than 2,500 cases that have been filed under the statute over the past year.
Adult Survivors Act cases have also targeted institutions like universities, hospitals, and the state prison system alleging they facilitated systematic abuse by bad actors.
Hundreds of patients have claimed they were sexually abused by Robert Hadden, an OB-GYN at Columbia University, while under his care, while a similarly massive number of survivors say they were sexually abused by Darius Paduch, a urologist at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Hadden was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in July, while Paduch is currently under a federal indictment for sexual abuse.
Parker voted in favor of the Adult Survivors Act last year, along with every other member of Albany’s upper chamber.
A checkered history
Parker is no stranger to legal troubles, finding himself embattled with the law at various points in his twenty-year career in Albany. In 2005, Parker was arrested and charged with assault for punching a traffic agent attempting to ticket him for double parking. The charges were dropped after he agreed to take anger management classes.
In 2009, Parker again was hit with assault charges for attacking a New York Post photographer taking pictures of him outside his house in Flatbush. The pol would be found guilty by a jury of misdemeanor criminal mischief, and was sentenced to three years probation plus further anger management classes.
After that flap, Parker was stripped of his committee assignments, and chamber leaders attempted to claw back a $22,000 stipend he pocketed as Majority Whip and chair of the Energy Committee. “I don’t think I have an anger issue,” Parker told reporters at the time.
Having been reelected to his seat multiple times in the aftermath, Parker has gained back his committee seats and currently chairs the Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
Parker’s spats have not always resulted in legal trouble. In 2009, while facing his assault charge, Parker referred to then-Governor David Paterson as a “coke-snorting, staff-banging governor,” remarks for which he apologized. The following year, he reportedly called fellow Sen. Diane Savino a “b-tch” during heated sessions over whether to expel another member accused of assault, Hiram Monserrate of Queens, and nearly came to fisticuffs with her boyfriend, Bronx Sen. Jeff Klein — who himself was later accused of sexual assault by a staffer.
In 2018, when a Senate GOP staffer tweeted about a car blocking a bike lane with a Parker-issued parking placard on the dash, Parker responded by telling the staffer, Candice Giove, to “kill yourself!” He later apologized.
Parker ran for city comptroller in 2021 but finished sixth in the Democratic primary.
This story was updated with a comment from Olga Jean-Baptiste’s lawyer, Bob Hilliard.