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Deep Dives

Annie Hylton
Investigative Journalist, Professor
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piqer: Annie Hylton
Wednesday, 16 May 2018

New York's Top Law Enforcement Official Faces A #MeToo Reckoning

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general and the state's highest-ranking law-enforcement officer, has publicly championed women's rights and become an outspoken figure against sexual harassment. Four months after the first stories of the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein broke, Schneiderman's office filed a civil-rights suit against him. 

Now, according to this meticulously reported New Yorker article, Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own as four women said he subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence. Two of them spoke on the record hoping to protect other women. The women allege he repeatedly hit them, especially after drinking, and two of them allege he threatened to kill them. 

Michelle Manning Barish, one of the women who had a romantic relationship with Schneiderman, recounted how he increasingly took steps to control her body, first by telling her to remove a small tattoo from her wrist. Weeks into the relationship, he became violent, slapping her and choking her. The damage to her ear from being slapped eventually required her to seek medical attention.   

In one incident, Manning Barish said she objected to him "yanking" her across the street and told him jaywalking is against the law. He responded, "I am the law." 

After being together for nearly two years off and on, Manning Barish said she left the relationship feeling "emotionally battered." She said he would press her to consume large amounts of alcohol and control what she ate. She had lost thirty pounds, and her hair started to fall out. “You cannot be a champion of women when you are hitting them and choking them in bed, and saying to them, ‘You’re a fucking whore,’” she said. 

Schneiderman responded to the article with a statement and later resigned. He said: “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 nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.” 

New York's Top Law Enforcement Official Faces A #MeToo Reckoning
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