NEW YORK - Less than two months before New York City's Democratic primary, a woman has come forward accusing Democratic mayoral candidate and Comptroller Scott Stringer of sexual misconduct two decades ago when she says she was a campaign intern.
"Scott Stringer repeatedly groped me, put his hands on my thighs and between my legs, and demanded to know why I wouldn't have sex with him," Jean Kim said at a news conference.
She said the alleged abuse also involved unwanted kissing and happened back in 2001 when she worked as an unpaid intern on Stinger's campaign for public advocate. Kim, now a political lobbyist, said she feared retaliation and so she stayed silent for 20 years.
"But I'm coming forward now because being forced to see him in my living room TV every day pretending to be a champion of women for women's rights just sickens me," Kim said.
Stringer then held his own news conference to address the accusations.
"I believe women have the right and should be encouraged to come forward and they must be heard. But this isn't me," Stringer said. "I didn't do this. I'm going to fight for the truth because these allegations are false."
Stringer said Kim was not a campaign intern. He explained their relationship quite differently.
"We were friends for a period of years. For a several-month period around the time of the campaign, we had an on and off relationship of over a few months. She was 30 and I was 41," Stringer said. "This relationship started before I met my wife Elise. It was a mutual and consensual relationship. I never used any force, made any threats, or did any of the things that are alleged."
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These allegations came out as the Democratic mayoral candidates were set to face off in their first live, in-person debate Wednesday on the radio at 4 p.m. All candidates but Andrew Yang were scheduled to attend. Yang's campaign manager says he is already participating in other debates.