Ex-staffer accuses state Sen. Klein of sexual misconduct

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A former staff member of state Sen. Jeff Klein is accusing him of sexual misconduct.

Erica Vladimer, who identified herself in a Huffington Post story, told a reporter that she went to have a cigarette with Klein outside an Albany bar on March 31, 2015 when he allegedly "shoved his tongue" down her throat.

Klein represents the Bronx and part of lower Westchester County.

In a statement, Klein's attorneys say he was at the bar with a group of staffers the night of the alleged incident and that there are no witnesses to the alleged event. They say the kiss never happened.

The allegation surfaced the same day News 12 interviewed Democratic state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who represents Yonkers, about a series of bills introduced this week to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

The legislative package includes a bill that would require public officials accused of sexual misconduct to pay for their own legal fees, something that could potentially impact Klein.

"Taxpayers will no longer pay for lawmakers that are predators," Stewart-Cousins says.

The future of the legislative package is in question in a closely divided Senate where Klein leads the Independent Democratic Council, which effectively controls which party has the majority in the state Senate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to the allegations Wednesday night, saying in part "Every allegation of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously...this disturbing situation should be investigated, and I believe it should be done immediately and independently."

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