Congressman Facing Church Judgment on Sexual Misconduct Charges
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. Floyd Flake of New York, who is also a pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, will defend himself before a church body against charges of sexual harassment leveled by a former employee of his congregation, a spokesman said Thursday.
The ex-employee has claimed that Flake fired her from an administrative assistant job at his 4,000-member Allen A.M.E. Church in St. Albans, Queens, after an affair between the couple ended, said Edwin Reed, Flake’s administrative assistant.
″She alleges that they had an affair and when it was over, she was forced out,″ Reed said in a telephone interview from Buffalo, N.Y., where the regional A.M.E. Church is holding its annual meeting.
Reed said the woman was fired - in 1985 before Flake was elected to Congress - ″but not for those reasons. She was fired because of her inability to be compatible with the whole staff.″
The woman’s allegations were to be taken up by a judiciary committee of the A.M.E. Church at the Buffalo meeting, and a decision could be reached by Sunday, according to Reed.
Flake was busy at the meeting and not immediately available for comment, Reed said. But in an interview with The New York Post, Flake said the woman, whom he identified a Thelma Singleton-Scott, was trying to blackmail him.
″She asked me for money to keep quiet about this,″ said Flake, a freshman Democrat. ″I’m prepared to defend myself against the charges that she brings.″
Mrs. Singleton-Scott, who lives in Brooklyn, was contacted Thursday night at a Buffalo hotel but refused to comment on the allegations.
″I’m not going to give any interviews or pictures,″ she said. ″He (Flake) can talk about it but I have nothing to say.″
The Rev. John Collier, a spokesman for A.M.E. Bishop Frank Cummings, told the Post that a statement on the allegations will be issued in a few days.
Flake, 43, was elected in November 1986, five months after losing a special election to fill the seat of Rep. Joseph P. Addabbo, who died.
In the special election, Flake had led by 167 votes at the polls but when absentee ballots were counted, former Assemblyman Alton Waldon was declared the winner by 276 votes. Waldon had served two months when Flake unseated him.
Flake is married and has four children.