News & Politics

Senator Cory Booker Accused of Sexual Assault by Gay Man

Senator Cory Booker Accused of Sexual Assault by Gay Man
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A gay man who describes himself as a liberal Democrat is accusing New Jersey Senator Cory Booker of sexually assaulting him in 2014. Booker is considered a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

The alleged victim, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, penned a lengthy open letter that was posted on Twitter. In the letter, he describes the assault that occurred in a bathroom following a meeting at his workplace, where the two met.

The letter goes into excruciating detail.

I stopped to use one of the building’s single-occupancy restrooms. Upon washing my hands prior to leaving, I hear knocking on the door. When it comes to these restrooms, it is customary to knock first in case someone is using it, even though there is an inner lock. When I opened the door, Mr. Booker was there. He smiled and very gregariously said, “Hey!” We engaged in some brief idle chitchat in the entryway and then he asked me to speak in private. What happened next, happened so fast that it was hard for me to comprehend what was going on. It was one of those surreal moments where what was happening was such a deviation and such a perversion of one’s natural daily routine that I hardly knew how to react. He pulled me into the bathroom, albeit not too forcefully, and slowly pushed me against the restroom wall. He said that “Being a hero was a serious turn-on.” He continued, “The Senate appreciates fine citizens like you. Especially this senator.” He then put his left hand on my groin, over my jeans, and began to rub. I seem to remember saying something like “What is happening?” It was a bit like having vertigo. He then used his other hand to grab my left hand with his right and pulled it over to touch him. At the same time, he disengaged from rubbing me and used his left hand to push me to my knees from my shoulder for what was clearly a move to have me perform oral sex on him. At that point, I pulled away quite violently and told him I had to go. I did not see him again before he left.

The victim says he contacted journalist Ronan Farrow, the “father of the #MeToo movement,” who requested a phone conversation but never got back to him after the victim gave Farrow his number.

He also contacted a lawyer. Grabien reached out to the attorney who is mentioned in the letter:

Grabien News has reached out to the accuser’s attorney, Harmeet Dhillon, to verify he has consulted with her, as he described in the letter.

“All I can say at this time is that the man is considering his next steps and has no further comment at this time,” Dhillon told Grabien.

The victim gave his attorney the story along with some evidence. Here’s what he says about that:

Once we established privileged communication, I told her my story; disclosing my real name and the details of my case. This included the precise date, location, some corroborating photographic evidence and two possible hearsay witnesses that I had told my story to subsequent to the incident. It was, at the very least, much more probative evidence than what was brought forth during the Kavanaugh debacle. Ms. Dhillon responded to me with respectful immediacy, offering candid advice and compassion tempered with pragmatism.

It should be noted that so far, major media outlets are silent on this story. It could very well be they haven’t seen it. But the victim doesn’t think he will get much support from the #MeToo movement anyway:

I’m not a woman. I do consider myself liberal but I no longer consider myself a Democrat. And the perpetrator of my story is a Democratic hero/2020 contender…hardly a tale that can be programmed, categorized or easily referenced by the modern American media apparatus. Especially one that caters to reductive, easy to follow narratives with a clear view of who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. So what recourse does that leave someone like me? Do I continue to engage with Ronan Farrow? I have no idea if he’s giving me the run around. Nor do I have any guarantee that his political ideology will not color his objectivity as a journalist. In light of the Ramirez story, it’s clear that that is a distinct possibility.

This is from a liberal gay man, a Democrat.

I’ve considered the possibility that it’s a hoax, in which case I would be rightfully chastised for posting on it — just as I chastised other media outlets during the Kavanaugh hearings for printing unsubstantiated allegations from dubious sources.

But the victim raises vitally important questions. For example, are only women to be believed unconditionally about sexual assault? If so, what possible reason is there not to believe a gay man? Does a man who stands accused deserve the benefit of the doubt because of his past support of the “right” issues?

Booker’s homosexuality or bisexuality is not the issue and probably wouldn’t matter to many voters — especially Democrats. What matters is the same thing that mattered about the Kavanaugh accusations: are they credible and does an assault disqualify Booker from high office?

We’ll see how the #MeToo movement reacts over the next few days, but my guess is that they will soft-peddle the accusation and Booker will skate on it.

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