New York’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, is accused of physically assaulted four women with whom he had relationships, choking and hitting at least two repeatedly, according to a major new report published Monday evening in the New Yorker.
Schneiderman was accused of repeatedly hitting the women in bed without their consent, grabbing their faces, forcing them to repeat lines like “I’m a little whore,” and threatening to kill the women if they ever left him.
Two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvarantam, agreed to speak on record to the New Yorker. Both said they had to seek medical attention after their encounters with Schneiderman in 2013 and 2017 respectively. Two women said that Schneiderman violently slapped them across the face.
“My ears were ringing,” Manning Barish told the New Yorker. “I lost my balance and fell backward onto the bed… He then used his body weight to hold me down, and began to choke me. The choking was very hard.”
Selvaratnam, who was born in Sri Lanka and has dark skin, said Schneiderman would “tell me to call him Master, and he’d slap me until I did.” She told the New Yorker that “he started calling me his ‘brown slave’ and demanding that I repeat that I was ‘his property.’”
In a statement, Schneiderman denied the allegations. “In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity,” he said. “I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is I line I would not cross.”
Jennifer Cunningham, Schneiderman’s former wife, said that the allegations were “completely inconsistent with the man I know, who has always been someone of the highest character, outstanding values and a loving father.”
Schneiderman, who is up for re-election later this year, has been a persistent champion of progressive causes and key adversary of President Donald Trump. During his time as New York attorney general, he has cast himself as a defender and champion of women and previously praised “the brave women and men who spoke up about the sexual harassment they had endured at the hands of powerful men.”
In 2010, he introduced a bill making intentional strangulation to the point of unconsciousness a violent felony. More recently, he filed a civil rights lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein, his company, and his brother seeking justice for the dozens of women who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.
Schneiderman has also been praised by the progressive media, having been previously described by Samantha Bee as a “hero who stood up to democracy’s nemesis.”