Legislative staffer: I was threatened by Sheldon Silver

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is under fire for his handling of the sexual harassment claims against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

After he callously ate pretzels as she tried to tell him that a colleague had raped her, Elizabeth Crothers did not hold back slamming Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in interviews two years later, when it was revealed that the same colleague who raped her had raped another young woman.

The speaker’s office apparently sent Crothers a threatening letter in an attempt to shut her up when she started granting interviews vilifying him and her accused rapist, Assembly lawyer Michael Boxley, she told the Daily News.

The threatening letter was sent to her attorney from top assembly lawyer William Collins and appeared to suggest she would be trashed in the press if she did not back off.

Collins’ letter accused Crothers of lying, and said the interviews she had been doing waived her right to confidentiality under the assembly’s sexual harassment policy.

“I am compelled to conclude that Ms. Crothers has chosen to waive whatever protections would otherwise be afforded her by the confidentiality provisions … of the assembly’s sexual harassment policy,” Collins wrote in the June 30, 2003, letter, according to a copy obtained by the Daily News.

Assembly spokesman Michael Whyland reportedly dismissed the letter as “old communications.”

Whyland told Metro that the Speaker’s office has not had any communication with Boxley since 2003, when the second accusation came to light.

According to the North Country Gazette, Boxley paid a $1,000 fine after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of sexual misconduct in 2003. He was also reportedly required to register as a sex offender. In the criminal complaint for that case, the accuser claimed Boxley raped her four times during the early morning hours of June 10, 2003, the North Country Gazette reported. The Gazette said that as part of the deal, four felony rape charges against Boxley, then 44, were dismissed after he admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with the 22-year-old woman without her consent.

Three years later, the Gazette reported, the Speaker’s office paid the woman a $500,000 settlement and modified its sexual harassment policies to require that all written complaints of harassment be kept on file for seven years.

Collins, the lawyer who reportedly sent Crothers the letter on Silver’s behalf, also reportedly played an integral role in the confidential settlement arranged by Silver’s office with two women who reported being sexually harassed by former Assemblyman Vito Lopez, according to the Daily News.

A recently released 68-page ethics committee report detailed sexual harassment claims against Lopez by several other female staffers. The accusations range from him forcing a staffer to massage his hand after she told him she was raped in college, to staffers contracting pink eye after being made to apply eye drops to Lopez’s infected eyes.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…