Ex-'GMA' producer who claims sexual assault by boss vows to appeal legal setback

·3 min read

Kirstyn Crawford, a former “Good Morning America” producer whose sexual assault lawsuit against her then-boss at ABC News got tossed by a New York state Supreme Court judge, isn’t giving up, her lawyer said Thursday.

“We do intend on appealing the decision,” attorney Milt Williams, who filed the lawsuit on Crawford’s behalf last year against Michael Corn, said in an email.

The development came a day after Judge Barbara Jaffe dismissed the lawsuit, writing that the three-year statute of limitations on the assault accusation had passed and that Corn’s behavior, “while boorish, ill-advised and inappropriate,” did not “create a hostile work environment.”

Also, Jaffe wrote, “much of the conduct, moreover, was not directed at plaintiff.”

Crawford no longer works for ABC News and was not available for comment, her lawyer said.

Corn, who now oversees news programming at NewsNation, also could not be reached for comment. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyer, Meredith Cavallaro, said they’re confident the judge’s decision will be upheld.

“Judge Jaffe’s decision is well-reasoned and grounded in long-standing precedent,” Cavallaro said.

Image: Michael Corn (Lorenzo Bevilaqua / ABC via Getty Images file)
Image: Michael Corn (Lorenzo Bevilaqua / ABC via Getty Images file)

In her lawsuit, Crawford alleged that Corn assaulted her in 2015 during a business trip to cover the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The lawsuit also alleged that Corn assaulted former ABC News producer Jill McClain in 2010 and 2011 on two separate business trips.

Although the allegations made by McClain are too old to form the basis of a separate claim, they were included in support of Crawford’s case, according to her lawsuit.

Corn has denied the allegations made by McClain, calling them “fabricated.”

“​​After I allegedly touched her on an airplane, Jill repeatedly booked our future air travel to sit next to me, she invited me to her wedding — including a pre-wedding event that was limited to her immediate family and closest friends — and she repeatedly communicated to me and my wife that she missed me after leaving her position at ABC. These are not the words and actions of a woman who had been assaulted,” Corn said in a statement after McClain made the allegations.

Crawford also claimed that ABC News, which was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had received complaints from women about Corn’s alleged abuses going back at least a decade but did nothing to stop him.

Corn, in the complaint, was described as an “untouchable” whose bad behavior was tolerated by ABC News brass because he turned “GMA” into a ratings giant.

Crawford said that while “GMA” host George Stephanopoulos urged her to report the alleged assault, the then-senior director of publicity for “GMA,” Heather Riley, “cautioned Crawford that reporting the assault and harassment might get ‘messy,’” according to the lawsuit.

Riley in March was named ABC News’ executive editorial producer of political programming and affairs. She did not respond to the allegations when they were originally made, and she and ABC News did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.

ABC News denied Crawford’s allegations against it and said in a statement that the company was “committed to upholding a safe and supportive work environment and have a process in place that thoroughly reviews and addresses complaints that are made.”