Tonight Emma Sulkowicz, who drew international attention when she vowed to carry a mattress in protest after Columbia University failed to expel her alleged rapist, is attending the president’s State of the Union address with New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Paul Nungesser, the man Sulkowicz accused of sexual assault, has largely remained silent, but today he spoke out, saying he was “dismayed and disappointed” to learn that Sulkowicz was invited to the event. “I am shocked to learn that Senator Gillibrand is actively supporting Ms. Sulkowicz’s defamation campaign against me by providing her with a public forum in which to broadcast her grave allegation. By doing so, Senator Gillibrand is participating in a harassment campaign against someone who, for good reason, has been found innocent by all investigating bodies,” Nungesser told Daily Intelligencer.
Nungesser maintains that he is innocent and says that is why he has never been disciplined or charged. “Sulkowicz’s accusation is untrue and unfounded: I have never sexually assaulted anyone. This is why Columbia University after seven months of detailed investigation in November 2013 found me to be not responsible.” He claims that the NYPD decided not to bring charges after Sulkowicz filed a police report in May 2014. “I voluntarily let myself be interviewed by DA chief of Sex Crimes at SVU in New York City, in August 2014,” he said. “Shortly after this interview, the DA’s office informed me that they decided not to pursue the case further.”
Sulkowicz told Daily Intelligencer previously that she decided not to pursue the criminal case any further. Neither Sulkowicz nor Senator Gillibrand’s office returned immediate requests for comment.