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NYC mayoral hopeful Scott Stringer denies sex abuse allegations

Lobbyist Jean Kim accuses New York City comptroller of repeatedly groping, kissing her during his 2001 campaign for public advocate, when she worked as an unpaid intern

Andrew Silow-Carroll is the editor-in-chief of JTA

In this July 8, 2013 file photo, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer addresses the media at a news conference in New York (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
In this July 8, 2013 file photo, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer addresses the media at a news conference in New York (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

JTA — New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, the only Jewish candidate among the major hopefuls for mayor, denied accusations that he sexually abused and harassed a woman two decades ago and said he would not be dropping out of the mayoral race.

Jean Kim, a lobbyist, is accusing Stringer of repeatedly groping and kissing her during his 2001 campaign for public advocate, when Kim said she worked as an unpaid intern.

At a news conference Wednesday, Stringer said he and Kim had a consensual relationship and that Kim was not an intern but a “peer” who volunteered on his campaign.

Elyse Buxbaum, Stringer’s wife since 2010 and an executive vice president at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Holocaust museum in Lower Manhattan, stood by her husband’s side during the news conference. She said that she herself was a victim of sexual abuse and “felt safe with him,” Gothamist reported.

Jean Kim speaks to reporters during a news conference, April 28, 2021, in New York (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In a separate news conference, Kim’s attorney denied that her client had a consensual relationship with Stringer.

Despite his denials, a number of Stringer’s rivals, including former Sanitation Department Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and Obama administration housing official Shaun Donovan, called on Stringer to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination in June. The winner is almost guaranteed to become mayor and succeed Bill de Blasio in the heavily Democratic city.

Stringer has been polling near the top of the crowded field for mayor, behind Andrew Yang, the businessman and former Democratic presidential candidate. Stringer has racked up a number of endorsements from unions and progressives, while other more progressive candidates, including attorney Maya Wiley and housing activist Dianne Morales, have struggled for traction.

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