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UFT standing by Stringer in mayoral bid amid sexual abuse allegations

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The United Federation of Teachers, led by its president Michael Mulgrew (pictured), continues to endorse City Comptroller Scott Stringer in his quest to become the city’s next mayor.
Photo by Dean Moses

 

The city’s powerful teacher union is still standing by mayoral candidate Scott Stringer in light of resent sexual harassment allegations. 

Earlier this week, a former intern, Jean Kim, accused the comptroller of groping and kissing her without consent while she worked for his 2001 public advocate campaign. On Wednesday, Kim told reporters during a press conference that while she worked for the comptroller as an unpaid intern, Stringer put his hands between her legs and asked her why she would not have sex with him, according to NBC. 

After the incident, Kim claims Stringer told her not to tell anyone and promised to make her a district leader in return for her silence.

During the press conference, Kim, who now works a lobbyist, explained to reporters that she tried to put the events behind her but chose to speak out “because being forced to see him in my living room, TV, everyday, pretending to be a champion for women’s rights, just sickens me, and I know the truth,” Politico reported. 

Stringer denies the accusations claiming he and Kim had a consensual relationship for a brief period of time. 

“The UFT has a long history of working with Scott Stringer and has always found him both supportive of educators and an advocate for women. At the same time, any accusations of this nature need to be listened to and carefully weighted,” a spokesperson for the United Federation of Teachers told amNewYork Metro. 

Kim’s accusations come less than two weeks after the UFT’s 3,400-person delegate assembly voted to endorse Stringer in his bid for New York City mayor. In a press conference after the endorsement, UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the delegate assembly voted 90% for Stringer. 

“We know that as a school system and as a city we will be facing unprecedented challenges and we are going to need someone who can get the job done, someone who knows what a school system is going to need, someone who knows about the housing crisis we have, someone who knows about the devastating effects homelessness has on this city,” said Mulgrew earlier this month.  “We have to have someone who has a proven record of always getting things done. Understanding what needs to be done at this time has really driven us at this moment.”

On Friday morning, Stringer’s campaign released documents showing Kim filed ballot petitions for mayoral rival Andrew Yang, NY1 first reported, calling her motives for coming forward about the sexual harassments into question.

Kim claims she has never worked for the Yang’s campaign and has not even met the mayoral race frontrunner while a spokesperson for the Yang campaign claims they did not know Kim carried ballots for candidate, according to NY1.

Meanwhile, Stringer has lost several key endorsements including due to the allegations including one from UFCW Local 1500, a union representing about 20,000 grocery workers and backing from  The Working Families Party, The New York Times reported Friday. 

Despite the loss in backing, and amid calls for Stringer to stop his mayoral campaign, the comptroller does not plan to drop out of the race. 

 

“I understand that this is a difficult moment for my supporters, and I know that some of them will feel compelled to withdraw their endorsement of my candidacy. This campaign was always going to be about people, ” said Stringer in a statement. “I’ve received a lot of support on campaign stops over the last two days, and I’m going to be campaigning in every neighborhood, in every borough for the next two months. I look forward to seeing my opponents on the campaign trail and at the debates.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the United Federation of Teachers’ union delegate assembly has 10 members when in fact it has 3,400. 

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