House candidate alleges sexual harassment by Long Island powerbroker

Attorney Michael Weinstock (right) is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Queens and much of Nassau County. Weinstock said he was sexually harassed by former Nassau County Democratic powerbroker Gerard Terry. Photo courtesy of Weinstock.

Attorney Michael Weinstock (right) is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Queens and much of Nassau County. Weinstock said he was sexually harassed by former Nassau County Democratic powerbroker Gerard Terry. Photo courtesy of Weinstock.

By David Brand

A former sex crimes prosecutor challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi announced Monday that he is filing a sexual harassment complaint against Suozzi ally Gerard Terry, a disgraced Nassau County powerbroker.

Michael Weinstock, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn and a 9/11 firefighter, held a press conference outside Nassau County Supreme Court Monday to discuss the complaint, which he said he filed with the state Attorney General’s Office. Weinstock is running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes about 60,000 residents of Northeast Queens.

Weinstock, who is gay, said Terry, the former chair of the Hempstead Democratic Party and head of Nassau County Board of Elections, pressured him and other young men for sex in exchange for jobs and preferential treatment. He said many people in Terry’s orbit knew of the alleged sexual coercion but did not do anything to stop it. Terry was a powerful county leader until he was convicted in 2018 of tax evasion and tax fraud.

“Despite being married and having kids my age, he was offering me my dream job — but only if I agreed to have sex with him,” Weinstock said in prepared remarks. “This was the first of many, extremely creepy and upsetting encounters I had with the Chairman.”

“No young person should have to choose between their career and sex with a sexual predator,” Weinstock added.

He said he was “blackballed” by the Nassau County Democratic Party after he refused Terry’s advances. The party did not respond to request for comment as of press time. 

Weinstock said he was inspired by several women who have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by powerful men. Men who are victims of sex crimes face a particular stigma, he said.

“I was passionate about putting sex criminals in prison when I was a prosecutor and I can’t sit on my hands and pretend it didnt happen,” he told the Eagle, adding that, as a prosecutor in Brooklyn’s special victim’s unit, he handled many cases involving sex crimes. 

“Most involved women, some involved men,” he said. “Lots of women testified. But zero men did. It was heartbreaking.”

Weinstock accused Suozzi of helping Terry after his conviction for failing to pay federal taxes for more than a decade. Suozzi wrote a letter to the judge recommending leniency ahead of Terry’s sentencing in 2018.

Weinstock said that letter of support helped motivate him to challenge Suozzi.

“I was thunderstruck when Congressman Suozzi decided to pull strings and get his friend released from jail,” Weinstock told the Eagle in May.

“I want to be a new voice and a fresh voice and I want to work hard and earn the respect of New Yorkers so they’ll look up to our elected officials,” he said. 

Suozzi’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Terry could not be reached for comment. His attorney Stephen Scaring did not immediately respond to a request for comment.