ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A state lawmaker from Brooklyn has been accused in a lawsuit of raping a woman early in his legislative career when he went to her home to discuss disaster relief efforts for Haiti.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, accuses Sen. Kevin Parker of assaulting her in 2004, during his first term. The woman said she had been working with Parker to coordinate the delivery of items and donations to Haiti after a devastating flood that affected the country and other neighboring Caribbean Islands.
The suit was filed under the , a special state law that created a yearlong suspension of the usual time limit for accusers to sue. The law is set to expire after Thanksgiving.
A spokesperson for Parker, a Democrat, did not immediately comment when asked about the lawsuit.
A spokesperson for the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said the allegations were “extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously.”
“We will take appropriate action as more information is learned,” said the spokesperson, Mike Murphy.
The woman said in the lawsuit that the assault happened after Parker came to her apartment to pick up photos from a visit she had made to Haiti. Parker represents part of Brooklyn with a large Caribbean and Haitian community.
After they finished discussing her work, the woman stood up to say goodbye when Parker grabbed her wrists, took her down a hallway to her bedroom, made a sexual comment, and then raped her, the lawsuit said.
The woman’s lawyer, Bob Hilliard, said in a statement that she “survived unspeakable sexual abuse perpetrated by Senator Parker— and continues to suffer from the trauma that only survivors of unwanted sexual assault can fully understand.”
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly.
In 2005, Parker was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after punching a traffic agent who gave him a ticket for double-parking, according to from that time. In that same year, a former aide accused Parker of threatening her after she publicly complained that he shoved and hit her when she worked for him.
Parker was also of misdemeanor criminal mischief charges in 2010 after he chased a New York Post photographer and damaged their camera.
New York state government has struggled for years with allegations about sexual harassment and misconduct by politicians.
In 2021, former governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, over a barrage of sexual assault allegations, in which one of his accusers had claimed he had groped her, though the criminal charges were later dropped.
In 2013, former Assemblymember Vito Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, over sexual harassment allegations that Assembly leadership had been covering up with secret payments.
Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Maysoon Khan on .
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