(Headline USA) A law passed by the New York legislature as part of its sweeping effort to target then-President Donald Trump with a barrage of lawfare attacks has ensnared yet another of the very legislators who helped to pass it.
State Sen. Kevin Parker, a 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 Parker of assaulting the victim 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 Adult Survivors Act, a special state law that created a yearlong suspension of the usual time limit for accusers to sue.
New York’s state legislature first undertook the effort to craft the ASA in 2019. Among those lobbying for it was E. Jean Carroll, a Manhattan socialite and former gossip columnist who planned to file her highly dubious rape allegation—dating back to the mid-1990s—against then-President Trump.
Although many women had made allegations of having sexual encounters with Trump over the years, Carroll was the only one known to have filed suit under the law, which is due to expire after Thanksgiving. Her case succeeded, despite several holes in her account, due largely to the favorable judge and jury. It remains to be seen whether it will hold on appeal.
The law, which was signed in May 2022 by Gov. Kathy Hochul, was passed overwhelmingly by the legislature, with Parker voting in favor for it then and in an earlier attempt to pass it during the 2021 session that went before the Senate but did not go before the Assembly.
A spokesperson for Parker, a Democrat, did not immediately comment when asked about the lawsuit.
The allegations against Parker were “extremely disturbing and we take them very seriously,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesperson for the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart–Cousins.
“We will take appropriate action as more information is learned,” Murphy added.
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 news reports 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 convicted 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 Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, resigned 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 Assembly member Vito Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, resigned over sexual harassment allegations that Assembly leadership had been covering up with secret payments.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press