ALBANY, N.Y. — The New York attorney general who aggressively sued 14 pro-lifers last June in claiming that they “harass” abortion-minded mothers outside of an abortion facility in Jamaica has resigned amidst allegations that he physically abused four women with whom he had sexual relationships.
Eric Schneiderman, 63 and an outspoken #Metoo supporter, denied the charges and asserted that while he had sexual relations with the women, he never hurt them.
“In the privacy of intimate relationships, I have engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity. I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in non-consensual sex, which is a line I would not cross,” he said in a statement.
“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time,” Schneiderman stated.
The attorney general, who is divorced, is accused of slapping and choking the women while intoxicated, and also using abusive and demeaning language. One of the women claims that Schneiderman was a heavy drinker, and “would almost always drink two bottles of wine in a night, then bring a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom. He would get absolutely plastered five nights out of seven.”
A friend of Schneiderman’s told the New York Post that Schneiderman, a Jew who also embraces Buddhist philosophy, is currently doing some “self-reflecting.”
“He meditates. He goes on retreats,” he told the outlet. “I think he sought Buddhism to alleviate internal pain.”
As previously reported, Schneiderman, an abortion “rights” advocate, filed suit against 14 pro-life individuals last June in claiming that they have “harassed” women outside of Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica by seeking to persuade them not to obtain an abortion.
“The law guarantees women the right to control their own bodies and access the reproductive health care they need, without obstruction,” he said in a statement at that time. “We’ll do what it takes to protect those rights for women across New York.”
In his legal complaint, Schneiderman alleged that the men and women, some of whom hold photos of aborted babies, approach vehicles and lean into the window to offer literature, or follow patients closely on their way into the building, at times handing a pamphlet to the accompanying child and asking him or her to “give this to your mommy to read.”
Schneiderman also took issue with the verbal speech of the pro-lifers, who he said call out “vitriolic” statements such as, “Don’t go in there; they will convince you to kill your baby—that’s how they make money,” “You have the blood of dead babies on your hands” and “They are killing babies above your heads.”
He further asserted that the men and women were disseminating false information, pointing, for example, to a pamphlet that reads, “We know you are probably upset and confused. To save the life of your baby, the laminaria (seaweed sticks) can still be removed. Please don’t do anything now that will hurt your child because you will later regret it.”
In January, U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon seemed to question Schneiderman’s assertions during oral argument as she said that his use of the word “harassment” was vague.
“[The defendants and their attorneys] have got to know clearly what harassment means,” she stated to Assistant Attorney General Sandra Pullman. “What is it? This is a little troubling. I don’t know what it is.”
When Pullman pointed to the dictionary definition of “repeated or persistent behavior that annoys or alarms someone,” Amon replied that if harassment charges were legally able to be filed for being annoying, “I could sue all of you here today.”
The Thomas More Society, which is representing 10 of the pro-lifers sued by Schneiderman, issued a statement on Monday, remarking that “[u]nlike the women who have described specific instances of Schneiderman’s violence, abuse and threats, the former attorney general’s prosecution of these pro-life sidewalk counselors has shown no evidence of violence, force, threats, obstruction, or inappropriate contact.” The 10 defendants are all members of Church @ the Rock in Brooklyn.
“Schneiderman’s case against our clients depends upon outlandish hyperbole: A willingness to look at acceptable conduct and call it, with the power of his office, what it plainly is not,” said special counsel Martin Cannon.
“Mr. Schneiderman has stridently voiced support of women’s causes, though it now appears he has little respect for women,” he added. “This pretense suggests that his claims against our clients, like his so-called support of women, are based on obeisance to the radical feminist agenda, and not upon what is true.”