NY attorney general quits over abuse reports

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (pictured, centre), who championed for women’s rights during the #MeToo movement, resigned on Monday after rejecting reports that he had physically abused four women.

In a statement to New Yorker, which carried the reports of two of the women who were allegedly abused by him, Schneiderman said in the privacy of intimate relationships, he had engaged in role-playing and other consensual sexual activity but never assaulted anyone or engaged in non-consensual sex.

The 63-year-old lawyer said while the allegations have nothing to do with his professional conduct, they will prevent him from leading the office’s work.

New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo sought the lawyer’s resignation after New Yorker carried the reports of the four women.

Two of them, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, said he choked and slapped them.  They alleged his behaviour was abusive, demeaning and threatening. They did not report the alleged abuse to the police as Schneiderman “threatened” to kill them, a charge he denied.

Barish, a feminist, said the verbal and physical abuse by Schneiderman started a month after they entered into a relationship.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Barish said she stepped forward for her daughter and for all women.

Selvaratnam, Schneiderman’s Sri Lankan girlfriend, said he called her the “brown slave” and insisted that she should address him “Master” and keep saying she is his “property”. If she refused, he used to beat her till she agreed.

Schneiderman’s ex-wife Jennifer Cunningham said she found it impossible to believe the accusations by Barish and Selvaratnam.

She said the husband she knew for 35 years was a man of great character, outstanding values and a loving father.

But Barish’s former boyfriend, novelist Salman Rushdie, told the New Yorker that she had complained to him that Schneiderman used to beat her.