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
National

Actor Tracy Morgan wasn't wearing seatbelt in June…

By Jonathan Stempel(Reuters) - Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan and others in his limousine were not wearing seat belts when their vehicle was struck by…

National

Connected cars: Is AT&T leaving Verizon in its…

By Marina Lopes and Bernie WoodallWASHINGTON/DETROIT (Reuters) - Verizon Communications, the No.1 U.S. wireless carrier known for its widespread coverage, is falling behind its biggest…

Local

Grand jury begins hearing evidence in Eric Garner…

A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday relating to the death of Eric Garner while in police custody in July. Garner, 43, of Staten Island,…

Local

Mayor announces plan for solar panels at city…

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the planned installation of 24 new solar panels at city schools on Monday morning. The panels, a $28 million investment,…

Going Out

Taste what Lower Manhattan is cooking at today's…

The Lower Manhattan food scene has changed a lot in three years, which you can taste first hand when the neighborhood's food festival returns. On…

Television

Review: 'Selfie' tries to coast on the charm…

"Selfie" offers cute leads and some good jokes, but focuses too much on a vague distaste for social media.

Movies

Review: Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children' is…

Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children" takes a hysterical and melodramatic look at disconnection in the digital age, turning strong actors into zombies.

Television

TV watch list, Monday, Sept. 29: 'Castle,' 'Mom'…

Tune in for the season premieres of "Castle," "Mom" and "NCIS: Los Angeles."

NFL

Ryan Quigley making a big impact for Jets…

Ryan Quigley, now in his second year as the Jets punter, had an exceptional afternoon with six punts for an average of 51.7 yards per punt.

NFL

3 positives to take from Jets loss to…

The Jets suffered another loss Sunday — 24-17 to the Lions — but the reason why it hurts so much for Jets fans is that…

MLB

Joe Girardi not confident David Robertson will return…

David Robertson was as seamless as anyone could be replacing Mariano Rivera as he converted 39 saves, with a 3.08 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony preaches patience with new coach, offense

While star forward Carmelo Anthony said he’s “enthusiastic” and “optimistic” for the upcoming season, he still wants everyone — from within the locker room and…

Education

How to ace your private school interview

Getting ready for a private school interview can be daunting for many, most of whom might never have been in an interview situation before. We’ve…

Education

5 questions parents should ask while visiting private…

It can be hard to know what to look for when searching for a new school for your child. Parents considering several different schools can…

Education

3 ways to save money on college application…

With the average high school student applying to 5 or 6 schools, hefty application and test score fees can add up quickly. We’ve compiled some…

Education

Nap rooms: The latest college campus trend

College is a time filled with new experiences (and lots of schoolwork), leaving little time for students to get a good night’s rest. University of…