A sexual assault lawsuit brought by a former ABC “Good Morning America” producer against Michael Corn, now president of NewsNation, was dismissed by a New York judge who ruled the statute of limitations had run out.
Kirstyn Crawford, 32, a former producer for George Stephanopoulos, filed the lawsuit in August alleging Corn, as executive producer of ABC’s top-rated morning news show, sexually assaulted her in February 2015 while they were traveling together to Los Angeles to cover the Academy Awards.
The lawsuit also alleged Corn harassed her and created a “pervasive toxic work environment” at the network, according to the complaint.
In her decision, issued Wednesday, Judge Barbara Jaffe ruled the alleged sexual assault was outside the three-year statute of limitations and Corn’s alleged subsequent actions, including “making fun of the rape allegations leveled against Donald Trump” and “making personal or gender-disparaging comments about female employees,” did not support the hostile work environment claim.
Jaffe wrote Corn’s alleged behavior constituted “discrete and isolated events that, while boorish, ill-advised, and inappropriate, do not create a hostile work environment, much less a continuing violation.”
“We are very pleased that Judge Jaffe acknowledged that the claims against Michael have no legal merit,” said Meredith Cavallaro, a New York attorney who represented Corn in the case.
Milton Williams, a New York attorney who represents Crawford, said in an email Friday they plan to appeal the decision, but declined further comment.
While the judge dismissed the quid pro quo sexual harassment allegations brought by Crawford against Corn and ABC, the network did not move to dismiss the hostile work environment claim, so it remains ongoing against the company. Crawford left ABC in December, according to Williams.
ABC, which disputed the claims when the lawsuit was filed last year, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
The lawsuit alleged Corn, who left ABC in April 2021 and joined Chicago-based NewsNation as president the following month, sexually assaulted “at least” two female employees during his 18 years as a rising producer at ABC.
Corn denied the allegations in a statement issued through his attorney last year, but was unavailable for comment Friday.
NewsNation, formerly WGN America, was reinvented as a cable news network in September 2020 under Dallas-based owner Nexstar Media Group. It bought WGN America in 2019 as part of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Chicago-based Tribune Media.
NewsNation spokesman Gary Weitman declined to comment.