New York City

Mayor Orders Probe After Women Accuse Homeless Shelter Exec

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio
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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday ordered an independent audit of the city’s nonprofit shelter providers after a published report described multiple sexual abuse accusations against the top executive of one of the largest providers.

De Blasio also ordered the Bronx Parent Housing Network to hire an independent investigator to examine multiple sexual misconduct allegations against chief executive Victor Rivera.

The New York Times reported Sunday that 10 women, some of them employees, accused him of sexual assault or harassment and that two alleged he coerced them into performing oral sex. The report alleged Rivera also used his power to hire family members and steer contracts to close associates.

“The city is hiring an outside auditing firm to review non-profit shelter providers to ensure true compliance,” de Blasio tweeted Sunday. “And we can’t stop at just shelter providers. I have directed that any complaint to any City agency alleging sexual misconduct from any non-profit contractor must be referred to an independent investigatory agency, NOT the non-profit’s own board.”

In a statement, Rivera denied the allegations, according to the Times, calling them “unfair, baseless and without merit.” A phone message was left Sunday evening on his office voicemail. The organization put Rivera on leave last week, according to the Times.

Rivera was one of the founders of the network 20 years ago and “knows first-hand what it is like to be surviving the streets of the Bronx," according to the Bronx Parent Housing Network website. The city has paid the organization more than $274 million to run homeless shelters and provide services since 2017, according to the report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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