Gillibrand says staffer allegations did not 'rise to the level of sexual harassment'

Gillibrand says staffer allegations did not 'rise to the level of sexual harassment'

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill MORE (D-N.Y.) defended her office's handling of sexual misconduct allegations made by a former staffer against a male aide, saying the accusations "did not rise to the level of sexual harassment."

“We investigated claims of sexual harassment and derogatory comments,” Gillibrand told reporters Monday. “We were able to substantiate derogatory comments and [were] not able to substantiate the sexual harassment.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“The sexual harassment claims did not rise to the level of sexual harassment,” she added.

“We took her allegations immediately, investigated them immediately and did a professional and thorough investigation,” Gillibrand said.

A former aide to Gillibrand resigned last summer after she said an older, male colleague made unwanted advances and used degrading language, according to Politico.

The incident has cast a shadow on Gillibrand's White House bid in a crowded field that includes Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKrystal Ball: Elites have chosen Warren as The One; Lauren Claffey: Is AOC wrong about the Electoral College? Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (D-Mass.).

Gillibrand has been an advocate for reforming how institutions handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault. She was the first senator to call for the resignation of former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenNative American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment Reid says he wishes Franken would run for Senate again Al Franken urges Trump to give new speech after shootings: 'Try to make it sound like you're sincere, even if you're not' MORE (D-Minn.) after he was accused of misconduct.