Former top ABC News producer Michael Corn Friday asked the New York State Supreme Court to throw out a sexual assault suit against him by one of the show’s staffers saying it’s past the statute of limitations and that the allegations are false.
In a memo accompanying his motion to dismiss a case that has roiled ABC and parent Walt Disney, he said the allegation stemming from an 2015 incident “fails as a matter of law because the statute of limitations for sexual harassment claims in New York is three years.”
Kirstyn Crawford, who worked under Corn at GMA, sued him in August, later added ABC to her claim for allegedly retaliating against her. She said the network declined to offer “her the job security and salary increase that she deserved” after she filed a formal complaint against her former boss. ABC has denied that. In her original lawsuit, Crawford said network executives were made aware in 2017 of her claim against Corn but took no action.
Crawford alleges, among other things, that Corn sexually harassed her during a trip to Los Angeles in 2015 when GMA was covering the Academy Awards. The memo calls her allegations “a shock to Mr. Corn.” that “the two were close friends and she had recently sought his advice as to whether to stay at ABC News.” It accused Crawford of seeking to impugn Corn “for her own gain.”
Crawford’s suit includes allegations that he also sexually assaulted another female staffer, Jill McClain. She is not a plaintiff in the suit, which claims Corn groped her in two incidents in 2010 and 2011. Corn’s motion to dismiss calls the McClain allegations “scandalous, and prejudicial,” meant “solely to harass and unduly prejudice Mr. Corn in the public eye.”