Sheldon Silver under fire over aide who mishandled sexual harassment allegations

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09:  New York Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver attends Century 21 Department Store Expansion Ribbing Cutting Ceremony at Century 21 on April 9, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is getting heat for keeping aide Bill Collins on payroll, even after Collins reportedly mishandled yet another sexual harassment accusation made against a Manhattan Democrat, Assemblyman Micah Kellner, four years ago.

Collins was called out by another accuser, Elizabeth Crothers, a decade ago, who said he sent her a threatening letter when she spoke out publicly against then-chief counsel Michael Boxley.

Crothers said she told Silver in 2001 that Boxley had raped her, and Silver did nothing. In 2003, another staffer brought rape charges against Boxley, and Crothers took to the media to tear both him and Silver down.

Boxley was fired after the second accuser came forward, and Assembly Speaker spokesman Michael Whyland has said that the Speaker’s office has had no communications with Boxley since then.

The Daily News is now reporting that Collins is in trouble for allegedly covering up the accusations made against Kellner four years ago.

Collins has also been credited with playing a big role in the settlement paid out to some of former Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s accusers. An ethics committee produced a 68-page report just months ago detailing accounts from several female staffers under Lopez, ranging from several staffers contracting pink eye after being made to apply eyedrops to Lopez’s infected eyes to one staffer being scratched by Lopez’s “jagged fingernail” when trying to stop him from pushing his hand up her skirt.

Silver released a statement this week saying Collins was being terminated, but the Daily News says the Speaker has known of Collins’ allegedly misconduct since early June. Collins will remain employed by the Speaker until July 31st, according to the Speaker’s spokesman, and an aide reportedly told the News he will remain on payroll through August 15.

 

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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