Schneiderman Case Proves the Insufficiency of Current Laws against Sexual Violence

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Debra Katz was quoted in an Associated Press article, “Former NY Attorney General Won’t Face Abuse Charges.” Following a six-month investigation, special prosecutor Madeline Singas said that she could not bring criminal charges against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman because his behavior was not explicitly against state law.

Schneiderman, New York’s Attorney General from 2010 to 2014, was accused of committing acts of violence against women he was romantically involved with as detailed in a May 2018 New Yorker expose. While he initially maintained his innocence, Schneiderman resigned just hours after the story broke.

However, following Singas’s announcement, Schneiderman acknowledged that he had abused women, and had spent time in a rehab facility – an admission that Michelle Manning Barish, one of Schneiderman’s victims, said made her feel “completely vindicated.”

Currently under New York law, causing physical injury for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification is not illegal, unless the victim can prove substantial pain or injuries. Protecting victims against a wider range of sexual violence is “crucial to protect victims of sexual abuse and violence from the deeply emotionally scarring injuries they experience in their intimate relationships,” said Ms. Katz, who represented Ms. Barish.

“Without it, abusers can get off scot-free – even when they later admit to the behavior, as Mr. Schneiderman did today.”

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