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 GillibrandTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 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.”

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“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 HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersJames Carville: Biden represents 'stability' not 'generational change' Ocasio-Cortez, progressives trash 'antisemitic' Politico illustration of Bernie Sanders 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation 2020 Democrats target federal ban on abortion funding Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 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 FrankenGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Study finds misconduct is the top reason CEOs are leaving large companies Hirono electrifies left as Trump antagonist MORE (D-Minn.) after he was accused of misconduct.