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What’s Going on With the Sexual Assault Allegations Against Eric Adams?

A former New York Transit Police employee has alleged in a lawsuit that the mayor demanded a quid pro quo sexual favor from her in 1993. Here’s what we do—and don’t—know.

Mayor Eric Adams
(Caroline Rubinstein-Willis / Mayoral Photography Office)

Mayor Eric Adams is officially the defendant in an Adult Survivors Act lawsuit in which former New York Transit Police aide Lorna Beach-Mathura alleges that in 1993, he demanded oral sex from her in exchange with help on getting a promotion—and assaulted her when she refused. The existence of sexual assault allegations against Adams first became public back in November, when Beach-Mathura filed a brief notice of claim in New York Supreme Court announcing her intent to sue the mayor. In December, Adams firmly denied the allegations: "I want to be very clear: Never happened," he said, adding, "I don't even know who the person is. I don't even remember if I ever met them before."

The lawsuit also names the City of New York, the NYPD Transit Bureau (a separate entity from the NYPD at the time of the alleged assault), three "unknown entities," and the New York Police Department Guardians Association, a fraternal organization for Black people working at the transit bureau that advocated for better working conditions and fair treatment for its members. Adams was a leader in the Guardians in 1993, and Beach-Mathura was a member, which is why she said she initially approached him for help at work. "After becoming a guardian, Plaintiff saw Defendant Adams speak on at least one occasion during a Guardians meeting," the lawsuit reads. "She found his support for the Black community within the NYPD and Defendant Transit Bureau inspiring."

After the lawsuit was filed yesterday, New York City’s corporation counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix—who is representing the mayor despite the fact that the alleged assault took place decades before he assumed that office—called the allegations "outrageous" and reiterated that the mayor "fully denies" the assault occurred.

So, what's going on from the 26-page suit against Adams? Here's what we've got so far.

What exactly are the allegations against Adams?

The lawsuit alleges "sexual assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, gender discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment under the New York City and New York State Human Rights Laws" based on a 1993 incident in which Beach-Mathura said she ran into Adams, and after a friendly conversation, she asked him for help obtaining a promotion after she felt she was repeatedly passed over at the department.

According to the complaint, Adams offered to give her a ride home that same evening—but instead of driving her back to Coney Island, he picked her up around 7 p.m. and drove in the opposite direction "to her great discomfort," ending up in a vacant parking lot. 

After Adams asked what Beach-Mathura needed help with, the suit alleges that he told her "he thought he could help her but that he 'also needed some help' and began rubbing his penis through his clothes with his hand," then "told her that he 'needed a blowjob from her,'" pulled out his penis, and placed her hand on it after she repeatedly said "no," at which point she alleges he "continued to masturbate and eventually ejaculated, leaving his semen on Plaintiff’s thigh and stocking." He then, according to the lawsuit, dropped her off at a random subway station, and they never interacted again. 

Though she was eventually promoted, she was laid off in 1994.

What do we know about Beach-Mathura? 

Beach-Mathura currently lives in Florida, but according to her lawsuit, she was living in Coney Island at the time of the alleged assault. According to the lawsuit, she worked for the New York Transit Police before the force was absorbed into the NYPD at large, and left in 1994, a year after the alleged incident. 

We also know that Beach-Mathura has filed lawsuits before, including one against another former employer, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board. In that 2009 lawsuit, she alleged she was "denied compensation after she was attacked by a student." She lost that lawsuit at trial.

According to this suit, Beach-Mathura said she told several people in her life about the alleged assault by Adams, including other former and current members of the NYPD and, eventually, her daughters. She also, per the lawsuit, watched Adams's rise to power with disgust, viewing his comments during his run for mayor as "hypocritical and sanctimonious." When she learned about the Adult Survivors Act in 2023, the suit says, she "felt obligated to bring Defendant Adams’ behavior to light."

In a statement sent to Hell Gate, Beach-Mathura's lawyer Megan Goddard said: "I am proud to file this complaint on behalf of my client, a woman whose strength astonishes me. She knew that filing this lawsuit would cause her significant personal challenges but she did so nevertheless, because she believes sexual abusers must be held to account, no matter who they are."

What has Team Adams said?

Beyond comments from corporation counsel Hinds-Radix, the only well-known official in Adams's orbit who has publicly stood up for the mayor so far is New York Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar, Adams's frequent companion at flag-raisings across the city and one of his most loyal allies. "I have always known Eric Adams to be a protector of people. He empowers and uplifts women every day. He dedicated his entire life to protecting people and would never hurt anyone in this way," she said in a statement, which also called the lawsuit "frivolous." 

You can read her full statement, co-signed by former Assemblymenmber Annette Robinson and two other "low-profile validators" (Politico's words, not ours!) on X here.  

What happens next? 

The demand from Beach-Mathura is a jury trial, with the hope that the court would award her "compensatory, emotional, physical, and punitive damages, lost pay, and any other relief," per the lawsuit. 

According to Politico Playbook, the reaction so far from Adams's fellow New York politicians has been muted. "It doesn’t seem like insiders and other decision-makers are going to put too much stock in [Beach-Mathura's] story," a Democratic consultant who worked on an opposing campaign in 2021 told Politico. "There’s so much shit to attack him on we don’t even need this," another consultant said—including various budget cut snafus and the legal investigations surrounding his mayoral campaigns and members of his inner circle.

As for what to expect from the mayor himself, I guess we'll just have to see what goes down at today's well-timed weekly off-topic.

Now, some links:

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