Woman accuses NY state senator of sexual misconduct

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State Sen. Jeff Klein, the leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight breakaway Democrats that shares power with the Republicans, has been accused of forcibly kissing a former staffer in 2015.

"She was hysterically crying, not able to breathe, couldn't catch her breath", Vladimer's friend, who asked to remain anonymous because she still works in NY state politics, told HuffPost.

"I want to be crystal clear, this alleged incident never happened", he said, according to the New York Daily News.

"This never occurred", Savino said.

"All of a sudden there was a hand on the back of my head and he shoved his tongue down my throat", Vladimer said in her interview with the HuffPost.

"There's going to be an independent investigation", said Cuomo, who added he immediately called for an independent probe when he heard of the allegations on January 10. But there are few options available under current law.

The issue caught the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is attempting to pass stricter policies on sexual harassment, said in a statement that, "Every allegation of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously". "However, we know Jeff Klein, and the allegations would be completely out of character for him". She says the case shows how badly NY needs a better system for dealing with sexual harassment complaints. Liz Krueger to discuss the incident and whether to come forward.

Klein said he will not step down following the accusation.

The one existing state agency that could investigate the allegations is the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, or JCOPE. "We expect there to be an article about this, but no formal complaint was made". "While it may be within the scope of other entities, an investigation into this matter is not within the jurisdiction of the Senate", Flanagan said in a statement.

Klein's lawyer, Michael Zweig, admits Klein and Vladimer were at the bar together that night, and even that they went out to smoke a cigarette.

"That's an inherent conflict", Lerner said.

The Senate's Republican majority said Thursday the investigation must be made outside the Senate.

Lerner says a new system needs to be created that is timely and fair to both the accused and the accuser.

Last week, Cuomo proposed new measures to address sexual harassment claims in state government. Former Assemblyman and now Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin was accused of sexually harassing a legislative aide. "Sadly, my experience with sexual harassment in Albany was more insidious than this one moment in time with this one man".

Vladimer said she immediately confided in a friend and fellow Senate staffer the night the alleged kiss occurred. Vladimer also posted on Facebook Thursday afternoon. Klein and his staffers were celebrating the passage of the New York State budget, according to the report.

"I find her to be a honest and credible person who was clearly very shaken about what happened to her that she made the decision to leave state government in Albany because of it", Krueger told HuffPost.

Klein, meanwhile, circulated a short letter signed by 23 women saying he'd been a gentlemen to them.

In a memo following a preliminary investigation by his firm, Klein's attorney claims his client, staffers and Klein's girlfriend, Senator Diane Savino, were celebrating the passage of the state budget on March 31 almost 3 years ago.

Former Cuomo administration attorney Alessandra Biaggi says she is helping the Democratic Party after its 2016 losses by campaigning to oust her local Democratic senator.

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