LONSBERRY: Attacking The Cuomo Accusers Is Wrong

Hilda Rosario Escher is a former longtime CEO at the powerful Ibero American Action League in Rochester – which gets about $9 million of its $11 million budget from or through the state.

               She is also a failed New York State Senate candidate, as well as a frequent board appointee, a member of the Monroe County Ethics Commission, and a winner of the Athena International Award, which honors achievement and leadership among women.

               She is also an Andy Cuomo lackey.

               Enough so that she would go on social media to attack women who have reported they are the victims of Cuomo’s alleged workplace sexual harassment and coercion.

               Which ought to make that Athena award sparkle all the more.

               “When (Lindsey Boylan) wrote her essay she wrote the Gov had kissed her,” Rosario Escher tweeted Sunday night. “Yesterday she stated he tried to kiss her. It’s very disturbing that these women have made allegations and later on have change their stories. U have cause a lot of pain and distress to someone who has given so much.”

               In point of fact, there seems to have been no changing of the allegations made by any of the women who have made accusations against the governor. On the other hand, the governor has reversed his own position. He initially said that he had learned that his behavior was offensive, and that he apologized for his actions. He subsequently, and repeatedly, has said that, actually, he neither did nor said anything, ever, that was “inappropriate.”

               That means he’s calling the women who made specific allegations liars. If you say he put his hand up your blouse and fondled your breasts, you’re a liar. If you say he asked you for a kiss, you’re liar. If you say he took a kiss, you’re a liar. If you say he made off-color and suggestive comments, you’re a liar.

               That’s the governor’s position.

               And it’s the position of his lackeys on social media.

               Lackeys who have cruelly and persistently attacked women who have gone public with their experiences in what they and others have called a sexually toxic work environment fomented by the governor.

               An example is this, from #JusticeForCuomo, retweeted by Hilda Rosario Escher: “You know what my wish is? It’s this. For these women to go to a halfway house or spend just a day in a home for women who have been in REAL abusive/violent relationships and see what it’s really like!”

               Calling women making accusations liars, or minimizing the wrong done them, is a timeless – and evil – degradation of the women, their experiences and the issue of workplace sexual misconduct. This is what the facilitators of such misconduct, and the defamers of victims, have always done. It is disappointing that progressive Democrat supporters of a progressive Democrat governor would resort to such attacks to cover his ass and help him avoid responsibility for his misconduct.

               In a choice between principle and patronage, between standing up for victims or backing up the man passing out the money, Hilda Rosario Escher and other Cuomo lackeys have decided to backstab the women.

               And that’s disgusting.

               But it’s not the worst part.

               Beyond the personal emotional pain of being savaged on social media, felt by the governor’s alleged victims, there is also the horrible message this sends to others in the workplace – primarily women – who will be intimidated into silence when they face their own workplace victimization.

               If you see in the news that women who report they were wronged are, instead of being accepted and embraced with sympathy, mocked and ridiculed with hatred, are you going to report? Does the restaurant or office or hospital or highway worker, targeted by sexual harassment in the workplace, dare to raise her voice after seeing how the women who have accused Cuomo have been treated?

               Attacks on the Cuomo accusers serve to silence victims, making them more likely to continue to be victimized. They also delegitimize all who come forward, by putting forward the “she’s making it up” narrative. As a consequence, victims who need help, and victimizers who need to be stopped, go forward with their situations unchanged.

               These attacks are evil.

               And, for Hilda Rosario Escher, disqualifying.

               Remember the fact she is on the Monroe County Ethics Commission? Well, the task before the commission right now is an allegation of sexual misconduct by county Legislator Ernest Flagler Mitchell. Six months ago, in the wake of a mass shooting in which two people were killed, sixteen were shot and two were trampled, is it alleged that he began making sexual advances to one of the survivors, a 19-year-old woman. She said that he sent her a picture of his penis; he said that it was an accident.

               She filed a complaint with the county.

               And the county sent it to the Ethics Commission.

               And the county executive, another Cuomo ally, put Hilda Rosario Escher on the three-person commission to hear the matter.

               How can a woman sexually mistreated by a political officeholder expect to get a fair hearing from a commissioner who has gone on social media attacking women who’ve filed sexual misconduct complaints against a political officeholder?

               She can’t.

               And so Hilda Rosario Escher needs to be removed from the commission.

               If only because those closely associated with Andy Cuomo can’t credibly claim to be subject matter experts when it comes to ethics.