One of the women who made sexual harassment allegations against New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ former chief of staff has since accused the office of mishandling the claims — criticism James denies.
Sofia Quintanar, a former deputy press secretary for James, told The New York Times that she was “appalled” at how her the attorney general — fresh off of leading the probe of ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment that prompted his resignation — kept quiet that Quintanar and at least one other woman accused of misconduct Ibrahim Khan, a Long Island native and Queens resident who has worked with James for a decade.
“Me and the other victims, we deserve the same vindication that was given to these other victims that she stood up for,” Quintanar told the Times, referring to Cuomo’s accusers. “It shouldn’t be any different because it happened in her house.”
James, a Democrat who was elected to a second term last month, defended her response upon learning of the allegations in October, thanked the women for coming forward, and said in a statement that she believed them.
“My office treated this matter as aggressively as every other matter that has come before our office,” James said. “Within 24 hours, our office took disciplinary action and put Ibrahim Khan under restrictions, and within 72 hours, we engaged an outside law firm that began an impartial and exhaustive review of the allegations.”
Khan, who resigned while the process was still ongoing, told the Press that the investigation found “no official workplace misconduct.” But James said the claims were confirmed and Quintanar told the Times that Khan is “splitting hairs” because the allegations of his unwanted kiss occurred during a campaign fundraiser after she no longer worked for James. Khan did not respond to a request for comment.
“When the process concluded, my office spoke with each individual and informed them that allegations were substantiated,” James said. “I am confident in the steps that were taken to swiftly review the allegations and in the integrity of the investigation.”
Susan Crumiller, a Brooklyn-based sexual harassment attorney who said she employed Quintanar as a paralegal for seven months about four years ago, issued a statement defending James. In it, Crumiller said she stood with Quintanar, but called the comparison to the Cuomo probe “misguided” and praised James’ response.
“The AG’s office acted promptly and thoroughly as soon as it received Ms. Quintanar’s complaint,” Crumiller said. “By contrast, the Cuomo investigation was a massive, unprecedented undertaking, announced after multiple women came forward publicly to accuse the then-governor of sexual misconduct. There is simply no comparison.”