Prosecutor Loses Police Watchdog Offer Over Harassment Allegations
The Department of Investigation has withdrawn a job offer to a Brooklyn prosecutor who was slated to lead its police watchdog unit after allegations surfaced that he had sexually harassed female subordinates over more than a decade.
The prosecutor, Charles M. Guria, was to step in as the inspector general for the department on Sept. 12. But on Thursday, Jocelyn Strauber, the investigations commissioner, said his offer was rescinded as The New York Post published the accounts of several unnamed women who accused Mr. Guria of making inappropriate remarks and touching them when he worked in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Ms. Strauber called the allegations “deeply troubling” and said her department was reviewing them.
The decision further delays efforts to fill a role that was created to audit and review the Police Department’s policies and practices in the aftermath of the abusive era of stop and frisk. The role, vacant for eight months, has taken on greater importance as Mayor Eric Adams pushes more aggressive policing to bring down crime.
Reached by phone on Thursday, Mr. Guria denied that he had ever sexually harassed anyone during his 32-year career, and said he had never been the subject of such a complaint. He said he was disappointed that he no longer had the watchdog role to look forward to, and questioned why his accusers had waited to come forward.
“I take allegations like this very seriously, but I stand in the fact that I am not a person who has done these things,” he said.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said it had no record of sexual misconduct complaints against Mr. Guria.
“We have no tolerance for sexual harassment, and a review of our files, going back to past administrations when most of the alleged behavior took place, found no complaints about Mr. Guria’s conduct,” said Oren Yaniv, a spokesman. “These are troubling allegations, and no employee should feel uncomfortable in their workplace because of the inappropriate conduct of a colleague.”
Mr. Guria spent 20 years in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office supervising investigations of police corruption and abuse. But he was demoted to a nonsupervisory role in 2014, under Kenneth Thompson. He was also a lawyer on the Mollen Commission, whose report on corruption in the Police Department in the 1990s led to changes in recruitment and discipline.
More recently, Mr. Guria was part of a group that spent three years retraining the city’s 36,000 police officers on how to use stop-and-frisk tactics after a federal judge found that the city’s use of those tactics was racially discriminatory and unconstitutional in 2013.
The inspector general’s office produced several pivotal reports after it was established in 2014, including on police use of force, bias investigations and sex-crimes response. But in recent years, it has struggled to fulfill its mandate in the face of police resistance to outside oversight. The office has not produced an investigative report since 2019.