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 GillibrandDemocrats seek to tie GOP candidates to Trump, DeVos Democratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter 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 HarrisHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Senators raise concerns over Facebook's civil rights audit Biden's marijuana plan is out of step with public opinion MORE (D-Calif.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Puerto Rico primary In politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Biden wins Louisiana primary MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' 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 FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE (D-Minn.) after he was accused of misconduct.