Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. today announced a new effort to engage survivors of work-related sexual violence, encourage reporting of these incidents and deploy specially trained sex crimes prosecutors to swiftly investigate such reports.
The effort comes at a time of heightened awareness of the problem of sexual abuse and harassment, in the wake of allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The producer has repeatedly denied he engaged in non-consensual sex.
“I would like to thank the profoundly courageous survivors who have come forward in recent weeks, as well as the members of our Work-Related Sexual Violence Team for taking on this critical assignment,” Vance said. “They are serving on the front lines of justice as this historic moment of reckoning arrives.”
The new Work-Related Sexual Violence Team will be staffed by 15 assistant district attorneys and a social worker and led by Assistant D.A. Vanessa Puzio, a supervising attorney with more than 12 years of experience in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault.
Vance said people are vulnerable to sexual abuse and assault due to the power imbalance.
“When an act of work-related sexual misconduct constitutes a crime, it is not enough that the abuser loses his job or his industry cachet – justice demands, and survivors deserve, that criminal abusers be held accountable in court,” Vance said.
The Sex Crimes Hotline is at 212-335-9373.