Eric Adams Accuser Details Alleged Sexual Assault in Bombshell Lawsuit

Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Brendan McDermid/Reuters

A New York City woman claims that Mayor Eric Adams sexually assaulted her three decades ago, masturbating in front of her when she turned down his demands for oral sex, according to a bombshell $5 million lawsuit filed Monday.

The claims add another layer of tumult to Adams’ already-tumultuous tenure, which has the first-term mayor facing an FBI investigation into allegations he helped the Turkish government sidestep the city’s fire code to erect a 35-story diplomatic facility. Federal agents in November raided the Bronx home of Adams’ top fundraiser, and seized Adams’ phones and iPad, as part of the probe. Adams reached the rank of captain in the NYPD, was elected to the New York State Senate after he retired in 2006, and was elected mayor in 2021.

“I am proud to file this complaint on behalf of my client, a woman whose strength astonishes me,” Megan Goddard, a lawyer for accuser Lorna Beach-Mathura, told The Daily Beast in an emailed statement shortly after she filed the suit in New York State Supreme Court.

“She knew that filing this lawsuit would cause her significant personal challenges but she did so nevertheless, because she believes sexual abusers must be held to account, no matter who they are. Her fearlessness and quest for justice are as inspiring as they are important.”

In a statement on Monday afternoon, New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix said, “While we review the complaint, the mayor fully denies these outrageous allegations and the events described here; we expect full vindication in court. Additionally, in 1993, Eric Adams was one of the most prominent public opponents of the racism within the NYPD, which is why the suit’s allegations that he had any sway over promotions of civilian employees is ludicrous.”

At the time the initial summons was filed, and the basic allegations were revealed, Adams, a Democrat, insisted he was innocent.

“It absolutely did not happen,” he said in November. “I don’t recall ever meeting this person and I would never harm anyone in that magnitude. It did not happen. It did not happen, and that is not who I am and that is not who I’ve ever been in my professional life and, you know, it’s just something that never took place.”

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In her complaint, Beach-Mathura, a former police administrative aide, says she approached Adams, then a Transit Police officer, at their stationhouse in 1993 and asked for his help with a “workplace issue,” Beach-Mathura’s complaint states. She was up for a promotion that seemed to have stalled, and Beach-Mathura says she hoped Adams, the president of the Guardians Association, a fraternal organization for Black cops, might be able to find out what was holding things up.

Being passed over for promotion was “all-too common for Black employees” during this era in the city’s history, and Beach-Mathura trusted Adams because he held himself out as a “champion” for African-Americans, the complaint states. Instead, it contends, Adams took advantage of her vulnerability, “revealing himself not to be the ‘guardian’ he purported to be, but a predator.”

Adams said he’d be glad to assist, according to the complaint. It says he asked what time Beach-Mathura’s shift ended, and when she said 7 p.m., he offered to drive her home so they could talk on the way.

Beach-Mathura was happy to not only be getting a hand from Adams, but a ride back to her place, as well, the suit goes on. However, things turned ugly along the way, it alleges.

As they left Transit Bureau District 2 in Lower Manhattan, Beach-Mathura realized that Adams was driving north, in the opposite direction from her Coney Island home, the complaint says.

“Instead, he drove towards the Hudson River,” the complaint states. Beach-Mathura asked Adams where he was going, and he replied that he “wanted ‘to have time’ to talk with her,” it alleges. “Shortly after, Defendant Adams pulled into a remote, vacant lot and drove in, away from the street.”

Beach-Mathura was frightened, but “tried to assure herself that... Adams was a police officer and a high-ranking member of the Guardians who was there to help her, but her anxiety remained,” the complaint continues. “As he was parking the car, Plaintiff grew even more alarmed and asked... Adams why he was parking the car... Adams responded that he ‘wanted to concentrate’ on what Plaintiff had to say and that he did not want to be ‘distracted’ by driving.”

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Adams, the complaint continues, told Beach-Mathura that he thought he could help. However, it says, he said he “also needed some help,” and “began rubbing his penis through his clothes with his hand.”

“He told her that he ‘needed a blow job’ from her,” according to the complaint. “While repeatedly cajoling, demanding, and begging Plaintiff for oral sex, Defendant Adams unzipped his pants and pulled out his erect penis.”

Adams—who was on-duty and armed—took a stunned Beach-Mathura’s hand and “placed it on his penis,” the complaint states. It says he then demanded she “Give [me] a hand job.” When she refused, Beach-Mathura alleges Adams masturbated to completion “and ejaculated on her.” Beach-Mathura was “repulsed” by what had happened, but “was relieved when he zipped up his pants and started the car,” according to the complaint.

Then, instead of taking her home, as promised, he dropped Beach-Mathura off at the nearest subway station and drove away, the complaint states.

“Although [Beach-Mathura] tearfully informed friends, including a prior boss that she remained close to, about... Adams’ sexual assault against her, [she] did not formally report... Adams at the time because she so greatly feared further retaliation from all of the Defendants,” the complaint says.

She also told her two daughters, after they had become adults, about the alleged assault “so they would be aware of the sad fact of life that sometimes people you trust and say that they are there to help you may actually use their power to harm you,” according to the complaint, which calls the incident an “astonishing abuse of power.” Beach-Mathura, a single mother, knew there “was no way to safely report” the alleged attack at the time.

She was eventually promoted, but forced to transfer to the Department of Probation and lost her seniority, which Beach-Mathura’s suit says was actually a demotion, of sorts, as she no longer supervised any other employees. In fact, the lawsuit claims, “her failure to acquiesce to... Adams’ quid pro quo demands seemed to have led to the transfer.”

“The effects of that sexual assault, betrayal, and astonishing abuse of power, continue to haunt [Beach-Mathura] to this day,” the complaint says.

When Adams later ran for mayor, his remarks and speeches on the campaign trail struck Beach-Mathura as “hypocritical and sanctimonious,” the complaint states. So, when the Adult Survivors Act came about, she felt “obligated to bring… Adams’ behavior to light,” according to the filing. It says Beach-Mathura “was appalled that her sexual assaulter had become so powerful and that he might become even more so. [She] was especially sickened by his campaign platform in which he portrayed himself as a ‘law and order’ candidate and bragged about his career as a police officer.”

The complaint was filed in New York State Supreme Court four months after Goddard filed a summons on her behalf under the ASA, a special carve-out under state law that provided sexual assault victims a one-year “lookback window” during which they could bring claims that would have otherwise expired under the statute of limitations. Beach-Mathura announced her intention to sue about a week before the window closed.

She is claiming gender discrimination, quid pro quo sexual harassment, and retaliation, and is demanding a jury trial.

The ASA has been used to hold several well-known names to account, including former President Donald Trump, disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Following the filing in November of Beach-Mathura’s summons, Trump lashed out on social media against the ASA, writing, “I hope that Mayor Eric Adam’s [sic], Andrew Cuomo, and all of the others that got sued based on this ridiculous law where someone can be sued decades later, and with no proof, will fight it on being totally unfair and UNCONSTITUTIONAL.”

Beach-Mathura’s suit also names the NYPD, the Guardians Association, and three “unknown entities” as defendants.

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