Timothy Pearson Accused of Sexual Harassment: Report

New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square, New York, United States - 01 Jan 2022

Photo: Gabriele Holtermann/UPI/Shutterstock

A top aide to Mayor Eric Adams is being sued for sexual harassment by a retired NYPD sergeant who said he inappropriately touched her while they worked together. Roxanne Ludemann, the accuser, alleges that Timothy Pearson, a senior adviser to Adams, also blocked her for an expected promotion as retaliation for turning down his advances.

Ludemann said she would often see Pearson at the Office of Municipal Services Assessment, which audits government services, where she served as chief of staff beginning in June 2022. According to Ludemann, Pearson would “regularly ask the women of the office uncomfortable, sexually driven questions” and touch their arms and backs in a way they felt was “creepy,” per the lawsuit. She said that when Pearson later took over as the office’s supervisor, he would ask her increasingly personal questions about whether she was married or lived alone. At times, Ludemann would “pretend to drop her pen or cause some other diversion to excuse herself” in order to get away from Pearson, according to her lawsuit first reported by the Daily News.

When the subject of a possible promotion arose, Pearson said Ludemann should become his personal driver. She felt that the offer was suggestive, implying that she could get the promotion if she began a sexual relationship with him. Ludemann refused.

Things allegedly escalated during a December 2022 office party when Ludemann said Pearson pulled her into a copy room, saying that he wanted to discuss a project. “During the conversation, Defendant Pearson begins to rub Plaintiff’s shoulders and arms, as he typically does with impunity,” the filing says, and Pearson stopped when Ludemann’s boss, Deputy NYPD Chief Miltiadis Marmara walked in and supposedly witnessed the scene. The lawsuit states Marmara told Ludemann that he intended to file a harassment complaint against Pearson, but Ludemann begged him not to, telling him it would be “career suicide.” He ultimately agreed, but ordered that Pearson not be left alone with any of the women in the office.

The lawsuit alleges that Ludemann learned that she was on the list to receive her promotion but that her name was later removed. When she questioned Pearson about the change, he claimed he would submit her name later when more spaces opened up. But months went by and Ludemann’s name never came up again.

Ludemann claims Marmara and Pearson got into a major argument as the deputy chief realized Pearson was interfering in her career progression. Marmara said he could no longer work with Pearson and wished to return to the force, with Banks granting that request. In a subsequent meeting with the remaining office staff, Pearson said “there will be a change in leadership,” according to the lawsuit. This prompted the other members of the office to offer their resignations. Pearson then allegedly told the group that he “would end their careers” if they did so.

After leaving the office, Ludemann was bounced from district to district and was served with disciplinary charges that the lawsuit alleges were “retaliation for her complaints of sexual harassment.” She would ultimately submit her retirement papers in December 2023.

“I want what happened to come to light — that it started with me saying ‘no’ and doing the right thing, and the NYPD allowed this man to destroy my career and traumatize me,” she told the Daily News in an interview.

A City Hall spokesperson said in a statement, “We will review the lawsuit and respond in court.”

This is not the first time that Pearson has come under public scrutiny. In October, the former police inspector was under investigation by the city’s Department of Investigation for allegedly shoving guards at a migrant shelter after failing to identify himself when he tried to enter. Pearson was also briefly under fire when it was revealed that he was still receiving a salary from his job assisting with security at Resorts World New York City casino at the time of his hiring by City Hall. He ultimately left the role. Pearson’s official title is senior adviser for public safety and COVID recovery, according to Politico.

The accusations against Pearson come just days after a civilian NYPD employee levied her own allegations of sexual assault against Adams himself. The mayor has denied the claims. Jeffrey Maddrey, the NYPD chief of department, was sued by a subordinate who alleged that he sexually abused and harassed her, but the federal lawsuit was later dismissed.

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