Revised Harassment Policy for New York Senate Adds Warning to False Accusers

February 1, 2018

Adding a warning to false accusers in the state Senate's newly revised anti-sexual harassment policy is an example of "the type of intimidation" that has kept harassment victims from coming forward, according to the only female leader of a legislative conference in Albany.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, leader of the Republican-controlled chamber's Democratic conference, responded to Monday's distribution of the new policy to senators and staff, pointing out that she wasn't included in discussions about the revisions despite her leadership position in the Legislature.

She took particular issue with a new sentence included in the four-page document under the heading investigation procedures: "Reporting a false complaint is a serious act."

"To emphasis the punishment for filing a false report while not emphasizing the seriousness of sexual harassment is exactly the type of intimidation that has silenced so many through the years and encourages perpetrators to attack accusers," said Stewart-Cousins, who represents part of Westchester County.

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