Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed'

Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed'
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' Where 2020 Democrats stand in betting markets ahead of first debate GOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats MORE (D-N.Y.) addressed the handling of a sexual harassment complaint within her senate office at a town hall event Monday night, telling voters that her former staffer was "believed."

“In terms of my own office, the woman who came forward, she was believed, her allegations were taken seriously,” Gillibrand said during the town hall, which was broadcast on MSNBC. “This employee was dearly valued. I told her that she was loved, by us, by our office, by me personally.”

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Gillibrand, who on Sunday officially launched her 2020 presidential campaign, reiterated that an investigation found the complaint did not rise to sexual harassment, but that there was evidence of derogatory comments. She added that the senior aide who was the subject of the allegations, Abbas Malik, "was punished."

The former aide to the senator resigned last summer after she said an older, male colleague made unwanted advances and used degrading language. The allegations were first reported by Politico.

The incident has led to scrutiny for Gillibrand, who has been at the forefront of the "Me Too" movement and has long track record of advocating for reforming how institutions handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

Gillibrand was the first senator to call for the resignation of former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Mexican officials scramble to avoid Trump tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Tariff battle looms as Trump jabs 'foolish' Senate GOP Barbs start to fly ahead of first Democratic debate MORE (D-Minn.) after he was accused of misconduct and responded to criticism about the matter.

Gillibrand on Sunday joined a steadily growing field of presidential hopefuls seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination. Others in the race include Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' MORE (D-Calif.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDon't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs MORE (D-Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker calls for hearings on reports of ICE using solitary confinement Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate MORE (D-N.J.) and Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates MORE (I-Vt.).