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N.Y. Court System, Ex-Judge Accused of Sexual Abuse by Secretary

July 19, 2021, 4:34 PM

A former New York state trial judge subjected his secretary to years of forced sex acts and other harassment and the New York State Unified Court System and related parties failed to act on her complaints and ultimately let the judge walk away, a federal lawsuit in Buffalo charges.

Rebecca Klymn said Justice Matthew Rosenbaum demanded she perform sex acts on him in his chambers, telling her it was part of her job to help relieve his stress.

The acts occurred more than 50 times between March 2005, when Rosenbaum became a judge of the Monroe County Supreme Court, and June 2009, when she refused to continue to allow the abuse, Klymn said in a complaint filed July 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Buffalo.

That harassment occurred daily in the presence of others and continued even after she told the judge she would no longer accede to his sexual demands, Klymn said.

She performed the sex acts under threats to her job and custody of her minor son while she was going through divorce proceedings, she said.

Klymn reported the harassment to a number of state officials—many of whom are also named as defendants—but was repeatedly told nothing could be done, according to the suit.

She filed three complaints with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Bias Matters beginning in November 2007, but she never received a response to the first two, Klymn said.

The continued abuse forced Klymn to take medical leave and she still hasn’t been allowed to return to work, the suit said.

It wasn’t until late 2019 that the OIG office acted on her complaints—saying it “lost” the first two—and Rosenbaum was allowed to resign rather than face discipline, the suit said.

The abuse also included the judge requiring her to do personal errands for him and his family, Klymn said.

An OIG investigator even suggested to Klymn during a 2020 interview that she had “asked for” the abuse and harassment because of how she dressed, according to the suit.

Causes of Action: Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act; 42 U.S.C. §1983; the New York State Human Rights Law.

Relief: Declaration that rights were violated on a continuing basis from 2005 to present and injunctions barring further discrimination; lost pay; compensatory damages; punitive damages; reimbursement for lost pension and Social Security; attorneys’ fees and costs; pre- and post-judgment interest.

Response: “As we have yet to be served, it would be inappropriate to comment,” the UCS said Monday in an email.

Rosenbaum didn’t immediately respond Monday to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

Attorneys: The Law Office of Lindy Korn LLP and Anna Marie Richmond of Buffalo represent Klymn.

The case is Klymn v. Monroe Cty. Sup. Ct., W.D.N.Y., No. 1:21-cv-00820, complaint filed 7/16/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com

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