NEW YORK — A woman who came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against New York City comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer publicly called for him to withdraw from the race on Wednesday.
Jean Kim said she was an unpaid intern on Stringer’s campaign for public advocate in 2001 when the then-New York assemblyman “inappropriately and relentlessly” pursued a sexual relationship with her. She accused Stringer of sexually harassing her and groping her on multiple occasions.
In one instance, Kim said Stringer demanded to know why she wouldn’t have sex with him. She said his behavior made her so uncomfortable, she ultimately moved across town and left the community she had found in the Democratic club where she was first introduced to Stringer.
“I have tried my best to put this chapter of my life behind me, to forget about it all and move forward with my life, but I’m coming forward now because being forced to see him in my living room TV every day pretending to be a champion for women’s rights just sickens me when I know the truth,” Kim said.
She said she hadn’t come forward before out of fear of retaliation and concern Stringer would destroy her career in politics.
Kim came forward because of his campaign; she said she didn’t want to see him elected as mayor.
“He was gaining momentum and I had to see him every day on my living room TV, especially the hypocrisy of him calling himself a woman’s rights champion,” she said. “That really was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
The first alleged incident between Kim and Stringer happened at a bar and restaurant.
“He leaned over and kissed me,” Kim said in an interview with PIX11’s Katie Corrado, adding that she was taken aback and tensed up. “And then he leaned over and kissed me again.”
Kim said she didn’t want to make a scene, so she tried to “wriggle out of his embrace” and talk about the campaign to “break the mood.”
According to Kim, Stringer said he could help her become district leader if she proved she was loyal to him. She said she was told to keep things between them quiet.
“I know so many people in politics, they are scared of Scott’s vindictive nature,” Kim said. “He comes from a political, powerful political family.”
Kim and her attorney called for Stringer to resign from office and immediately withdraw from the mayoral race.
Stringer on Wednesday denied Kim’s accusations and claimed he had a months-long consensual relationship with her.
“This isn’t me, I didn’t do this,” he said of Kim’s allegations. “The behavior described is inaccurate and completely antithetical to the way I have conducted my life.”
Stringer also refuted Kim’s claim that she was an unpaid intern on his 2001 campaign. He said she had helped out but was not part of the internship program.
“She was a peer,” he said. “She was not, absolutely not, an intern on the campaign. Our internship program was made up of college students. She was not a part of that.”
Stringer recently called on Gov. Andrew Como to resign amid mounting claims of sexual harassment made against the governor.
“He’s trying to hoodwink the city into thinking that he’s this great champion and a protector, and I know the truth,” Kim said.
Stringer is part of a large field of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in a June primary. He has been in elected office since he joined the state Assembly in 1993.
New York’s Very Own Katie Corrado sat down with Jean Kim for a one-on-one interview. Watch that in full below.
Comptroller Scott Stringer will also appear for an on-air interview Thursday at 8:15 a.m.
This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.