Nick Reisman – State Ethics Commission Drops Case Against Rape Survivor

Earlier this year we brought you the story of Kat Sullivan, a rape survivor from her time as a student at Emma Willard in Troy who had been investigated by the state’s ethics commission over whether she should register as a lobbyist.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics has dropped its case against Kat Sullivan, but she says she’ll keep fighting. 

For the last year, ethics regulators at what is commonly known as JCOPE have investigated rape survivor Kat Sullivan, arguing she spent more than $5,000 in advocating for the Child Victims Act. Sullivan paid for a plane to fly a banner and billboard space to promote the measure, which makes it easier for sex abuse survivors to file lawsuits. JCOPE on Wednesday dropped its investigation. We caught up with Sullivan in a phone interview, who said the case is an example of how other people may not want to participate in advocacy.

“I think that’s really the point,” Sullivan said. “JCOPE for some reason or another is looking to chill free speech.”

But JCOPE is unapologetic in pursuing the case. The letter from the commission dropping the case also criticized Sullivan for using profane language — something Sullivan says is ridiculous.

“It’s menacing and it threatens to continue to investigate me if I do anything else in the state of New York,” she said.

Lawmakers had criticized the investigation as well, including Assemblyman Chuck Lavine.

“Ms. Sullivan has suffered enough and we can understand her anger at the state of New York,” he said. 

Sullivan says she plans to file a federal lawsuit against the commission.

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