New York City Mayor Eric Adams has been named in a $5 million lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting a woman named Lorna Beach Mathura in 1993.
The lawsuit, filed under the New York Adult Survivors Act (ASA), includes the City of New York, the New York Police Department Transit Bureau, and the Guardian Association of the NYPD as defendants.
The Adult Survivors Act, signed into law by New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, opened a one-year window for adult survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred. This window closed on November 24, 2023. Since its enactment, over 2,500 cases have been filed, with a significant number against government entities, including allegations of abuse in local jails and state prisons.
The ASA amended the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, allowing the revival of previously time-barred claims. The expiry of the ASA’s window will see the statute of limitations revert to one year for intentional tort claims and three years for negligence claims.
The plaintiff, Mathura, in Adams’ case alleges that the assault occurred while she and Adams were both employed by the City of New York. The lawsuit details claims of sexual assault, battery, employment discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, and emotional distress. The specific details of the allegation have not been disclosed.
Mayor Adams has vehemently denied the allegations. He stated to reporters that he does not recall ever meeting the accuser and emphasized his innocence.
He responded, “As you know, I’ve been in public life for almost 40 years. People know my character and I could just emphatically state this never took place. And it’s just not who I am. I would never do anything to harm someone.”
A City Hall spokesperson supported Adams’ statement, denying any knowledge of the accuser and dismissing the possibility of such conduct by the mayor.
Megan Goddard, the attorney representing the plaintiff, expressed admiration for the courage of women coming forward, especially against influential individuals. She also acknowledged the significance of the ASA and called for its extension, noting that many victims are only now becoming aware of it.
This lawsuit adds to the challenges facing Mayor Adams, who has been dealing with falling approval ratings and a federal probe into his fundraising. The FBI recently seized Adams’ electronic devices as part of an investigation into possible illegal donations received by his 2021 mayoral campaign.
The case, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, is still in its early stages. With the lookback window of the ASA closing, the legal outcome of this and similar cases will be closely monitored.