Tag Archives: Sexual

56 attorneys general push Congress to help sexual harassment victims gain access to the courts

Attorneys general from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories wrote a letter Monday imploring Congress to make the courts more accessible to victims of sexual harassment.

The letter, addressed to congressional leaders, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), explicitly addresses legislation that would eliminate mandatory arbitration agreements between employers and victims when sexual harassment claims are made. Arbitration agreements result in behind-closed-door settlements that deny victims due process under the law.

“Additional concerns arise from the secrecy requirements of arbitration clauses, which disserve the public interest interest by keeping both the harassment complaints and any settlements confidential. This veil of secrecy may then prevent other persons similarly situated from learning of the harassment claims so that they, too, might pursue relief,” the attorneys general wrote. “Ending mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims would help to put a stop to the culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims.”

The letter goes on to acknowledge that both the House of Representatives and Senate have legislation in the works that would address this issue directly, and that “whatever form the final version may take, [the attorneys general] strongly support appropriately-tailored legislation to ensure that sexual harassment victims have a right to their day in court.”

The attorneys general also praised Microsoft, which announced in December that it had discontinued arbitration policies for sexual harassment claims, for being an early trendsetter in an important movement.

“As Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer has fairly noted, ‘[b]ecause the silencing of voices has helped perpetuate sexual harassment, the country should guarantee that people can go to court to ensure these concerns can always be heard,’” they wrote.

The House of Representatives passed legislation last week that would reform the way lawmakers’ offices handle sexual harassment cases. As it currently stands, the House’s sexual harassment policy is all but designed to protect the harasser. The new legislation would overhaul parts of the Congressional Accountability Act, streamlining the process by eliminating the mandatory 30 days of counseling and mediation period accusers were previously forced to endure. It also required that all claims in which a settlement was made be referred to the House Ethics Committee. A version of the bill is currently in the works in the Senate.

The announcement from the attorneys general comes weeks after 22 Democratic senators called on the Labor Department to collect better data when it comes to the economic impact of sexual harassment in the workplace.

“What is known is that harassment is not confined to industry or one group. It affects minimum-wage fast-food workers, middle-class workers at car manufacturing plants, and white-collar workers in finance and law, among many others,” the senators wrote in a letter. “No matter the place or source, harassment has a tangible and negative economic effect on individuals’ lifetime income and retirement, and its pervasiveness damages the economy as a whole.”

Sexual Assault Case Against Seal Rejected by L.A. District Attorney's Office: Report

The sexual battery case filed against Seal by a former neighbor has been rejected by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, TMZ reports. The 54-year-old “Kiss from a Rose” singer will not face any criminal charges.

In January, TMZ reported that Seal was under criminal investigation for sexual battery, stemming from an alleged incident at his home in the fall of 2016 with actress Tracey Birdsall.

According to Birdsall, 54, Seal had allegedly forced himself on her in his kitchen — attempting to kiss her and later groping her breasts in advances she quickly pushed off and demanded he stop.

Though they were neighbors and developed a close friendship, Birdsall told TMZ there was never anything romantic between them and that his advances came out of nowhere. She claimed he belittled her outfit, insinuating the tank top and shorts she was wearing implied she was asking for it. After Seal allegedly groped her again, she said she left and has not had contact with him since.

Seal refuted Birdsall’s claims, with reps for the star telling PEOPLE in a statement he “vehemently denies the recent allegations made against him by a former neighbor for alleged misconduct more than a year ago.”

In the wake of Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech, Seal found himself in hot water when he posted a meme of Winfrey with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein that read “When you have been part of the problem for decades, but suddenly they all think you are the solution.”

RELATED VIDEO: Chrissy Teigen Slams Seal over Meme Targeting Oprah Winfrey: ‘We’ve All Heard Things About Each Other’

Seal added in the caption, “Oh I forgot, that’s right….. you’d heard the but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young -eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad. #SanctimoniousHollywood.”

While the post appeared to be an attack on Winfrey — causing many, including Chrissy Teigen, to knock him — Seal posted an impassioned video to Facebook days later explaining that wasn’t his intention.

“What I reposted was commentary on the hypocritical and double standard nature and behavior of Hollywood,” he said. “To those of us who support the #MeToo movement, just know this: not one of the women who have been sexually abused, not one of the women who have come forward, has received any real justice whatsoever. Losing your job because you either a) raped, 2) sexually abused, or even sexually harassed a woman is not real punishment. You steal from the post office, you go to jail. And #RealTalk, we all know what would happen to any one of those power abusers if they looked like me.”

It appears his words resonated with Birdsall, who told TMZ she was inspired to contact authorities after watching his video.

An inmate strikes back at sheriff whose policies facilitated her sexual assault

Law enforcement authorities’ indifference to conditions of imprisonment is too often deliberate. Even after learning that his policies were facilitating sexually abusive behavior by prison officials against underage prisoners, Sheriff Stanley Glanz, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, did nothing to change the status quo. Now, thanks to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, his successor—if they haven’t already—is going to have to put some reforms in place.

Eight years ago, Ladona Poore, then just 17 years old, was allegedly routinely sexually assaulted by a detention officer, Seth Bowers, while imprisoned in the Tulsa institution Glanz supervised.

Poore testified that during the early portion of her detention, Bowers began groping her. She stated that he entered her cell and engaged in this type of misconduct more than fifty times. The sexual abuse escalated during the course of her incarceration. Bowers watched Poore in the shower, asking if she was done and then laughing at her. He later exposed himself to Poore and demanded oral sex. Bowers engaged in oral sex with her on approximately ten occasions, and sexual intercourse approximately five times. Poore did not inform jail staff of the abuse because Bowers convinced her they would both face consequences if she reported him.

After her release, Poore sued Glanz for providing “inadequate housing, staffing, and supervision for the area of the facility where juvenile female inmates were housed.” The jury found for Poore, awarding her $25,000. (Unfortunately, Bowers faced neither civil nor criminal legal consequences, though he did resign.)

Glanz appealed the federal district court decision to the Tenth Circuit, which hears appeals from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. When an appeals court reviews a lower court’s decision, it views the facts in the “light most favorable” to the way that it came out below. On that basis, the appeals court determined:

Glanz knew the policies he implemented with respect to juvenile female inmates created an excessive risk of sexual assault and that he was deliberately indifferent to that risk. Although Glanz acknowledged that juvenile female inmates were at a heightened risk of sexual abuse, he chose to house them in an area of the jail that was visually isolated, unmonitored, and often staffed by only one male officer, and where a prior incident of misconduct had occurred. He did so despite written policies intended to prevent sexual abuse that required direct supervision of juvenile inmates and prohibited male officers from entering the cell of juvenile female inmates alone.

NY attorney general sues Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein over sexual misconduct

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Sunday he had filed a civil suit against The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein, and Bob Weinstein, alleging the company’s executives and board failed to protect employees from movie producer and former CEO Harvey Weinstein.

Gillibrand offers Trump ‘due process’ hearings on sexual assault allegations against him

Following the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over multiple accusations of domestic abuse, President Trump tweeted Saturday that he’s concerned people’s lives are being “shattered and destroyed” by “a mere allegation” without “due process.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) responded by offering Trump his own “due process” in the form of hearings about the many sexual allegations against him, prompting a retort from White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway that those women “have had their day.”

Trump came to Porter’s defense Friday, wishing him “a wonderful career,” bemoaning that Porter is now “very sad,” and insisting that Porter has maintained his innocence. On Saturday, Trump tweeted his concern that “there is no recovery for someone falsely accused,” an apparent reference to Porter’s departure.

On Sunday morning, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney clarified on Fox News Sunday that it’s not clear Trump’s tweet referred to Porter, and could have been a reference to Steve Wynn, the former Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Two weeks ago, Wynn resigned over accusations he assaulted and harassed dozens of women. The RNC has said it’s planning to keep the $200,000 Wynn donated to Republicans last year, insisting that he should be “allowed due process.” Despite the similar stories, Wynn has not really been in the news the last two weeks and wasn’t even mentioned on Fox & Friends Saturday morning — but Porter was.

Regardless of whom Trump was referring to, Gillibrand decided to offer him exactly what he was asking for: due process in the form of congressional hearings on the many sexual assault allegations against him.

Gillibrand has long been a champion in the fight against sexual harassment, even publicly reporting her own experiences being harassed by fellow lawmakers in 2014. She also led the charge in calling for fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken (MN) to resign last fall. Trump, himself, has come after her, insinuating that she would be willing to perform sexual favors for campaign donations. She responded that he could not silence her.

On two different Sunday morning political shows, Conway came to the White House’s defense over its handling of the Rob Porter allegations. Though she said on CNN’s State of the Union that she thought Porter did the right thing by resigning, she attacked Gillibrand on ABC’s This Week. “Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere,” Conway said to George Stephanopoulos in response to Gillibrand’s tweets. “They were trotted out again late last year.”

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand or anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

Conway is referring to President Clinton, who was impeached in 1999 and served in office until 2001. Gillibrand didn’t take office until 2007, so it’s unclear how exactly she could have been protecting Clinton at the time. It’s true that Gillibrand is close to the Clintons and that they have campaigned for her. She said last November that in hindsight, however, she believes Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

If anything, Conway’s retort shines light on the fact that the accusations against Clinton were actually investigated. Apparently she thinks that “due process” for Trump is simply the fact that his accusers have had airtime on television.

Casino magnate Steve Wynn steps down as CEO after sexual misconduct claims

U.S. casino mogul Steve Wynn has resigned as CEO of his company Wynn Resorts following claims he routinely subjected women who worked for him to unwanted advances, becoming the latest prominent business leader to quit over sexual misconduct allegations.

The post Casino magnate Steve Wynn steps down as CEO after sexual misconduct claims appeared first on Politicus USA.

Twitch updates its community policies to crack down on hate speech, harassment and sexual content

 Twitch today is announcing an update to its Community Guidelines that aim to clarify how the company will enforce its existing anti-harassment and hateful content policies, while also ramping up the attention paid to those channels that breach its sexual content guidelines. In the case of the hateful content and anti-harassment guidelines, Twitch says that any hateful conduct will result in… Read More