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New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Resigns Over Alleged Sexual Abuse

Eric Schneiderman was considered a legal crusader for the #MeToo movement.

By Gina Tron

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned Monday only hours after a report alleged that he had physically abused four women.

Schneiderman, who was considered a legal crusader for the #MeToo movement, stepped down after the New Yorker published the allegations. Some of Schneiderman top political allies, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, called for his exit after the article appeared.

In the New Yorker story, four women alleged that they had been in romantic relationships or encounters with him and were subjected to nonconsensual physical violence.

Two women said Schneiderman had repeatedly hit them, often after drinking.

Two women who gave their names in the article said the lawman's alleged behavior was assault. One accuser, activist writer Tanya Selvaratnam, said Schneiderman called her his "brown slave."

"It wasn’t consensual," Selvaratam told the New Yorker. "This wasn’t sexual playacting. This was abusive, demeaning, threatening behavior.” 

Schneiderman said in a statement he contests the allegations.

"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 non-consensual sex, which is I line I would not cross," he said.

Before these allegations came to light, Schneiderman, 63, was hailed as a champion for women's rights. As a state senator in 2010, the National Organization for Women’s New York branch said he was an avid supporter of “protecting women who are victims of domestic abuse," according to The New York Times. While working as an attorney general, he created a “Know Your Rights” brochure for victims of domestic violence.

He was a high-profile prosecutor of sexual misconduct. In February, he sued the Weinstein Company and Harvey Weinstein for the producer's alleged assaults and harassment.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office has opened an investigation into the allegations. The state's Senate and Assembly will pick his successor during a joint session. Solicitor General Barbara Underwood will serve as acting attorney general. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

[Photo: Reuters]

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