Former high-level state employee defends reputation as McGreevey stumps for his tell-all, newly-released book
JERUSALEM An Israeli man who served as homeland security adviser to James McGreevey said Monday that he never had a gay relationship with the former New Jersey governor, whom he accused of sexually assaulting him.
Saying that McGreevey lied about their relationship in his new book, Golan Cipel told The Associated Press that the governor sexually assaulted him on two occasions and sexually harassed him on a third.
McGreevey resigned as governor in August 2004, announcing that he was gay. McGreevey aides said at the time that the governor was forced to leave of-fice because Cipel, whom McGreevey says was his lover, was trying to extort money from the governor on false sexual assault allegations.
Cipel said McGreevey’s attorney offered him at least $2 million in a negotiation with his attorney to try to keep the sexual assault allegations out of court. In the end, McGreevey’s attorney decided against a settlement, fearing the story would leak to the media in any case, Cipel said.
Cipel said he was speaking out now because he felt McGreevey’s book distorted the truth,
“People told me, “‘Leave it alone. Move on with your life,'” he said in a telephone interview. “But now when I read McGreevey’s book and I see that he is twisting every incident that I accused him of, I will no longer remain quiet … I am not afraid of him anymore.”
Cipel spoke at length to the AP, but declined to give full details of the three incidents. He sent an eight-page e-mail he had written describing them.
In the statement, Cipel said that though McGreevey had made inappropriate advances toward him twice, it was the third incident that finally forced him to leave his post.
That incident occurred when he was accompanying McGreevey in a van on a trip to Washington D.C., he said. Three state troopers rode in the front seat, the governor lay on a mattress in the middle of the van and Cipel was sitting in the back seat when suddenly McGreevey grabbed his leg and began masturbating, Cipel said.
After a struggle, Cipel pulled his leg back and was poised to kick McGreevey in the throat when the governor let go and retreated into a corner of the van, Cipel wrote.
“The scene appeared surreal,” he wrote.
Cipel said that when they arrived in Washington, he was shocked to find himself booked into the same suite as McGreevey. He locked himself in the bathroom and spent a fitful night trying to sleep on a towel spread on the floor.
McGreevey does not mention the incident in his book, “The Confession.”
“He couldn’t because I’m convinced it didn’t take place,” McGreevey’s lawyer, William Lawler, told The Associated Press on Monday.
Lawler said that when Cipel’s lawyer first mentioned the incident two years ago, “there was no mention of masturbation. It was alleged to be a sexual act in which Golan participated.”
Lawler said the troopers failed to substantiate Cipel’s claims in interviews. “Jim denies that it happened and so do the troopers,” Lawler said.
Cipel said the van incident was preceded by two others. In the first, McGreevey assaulted him after getting drunk, Cipel wrote in his statement. In the second, McGreevey, lying in bed recovering from a broken leg, masturbated in front of him, Cipel said.
In the book, McGreevey said he and Cipel had a months-long affair that began in December 2001 when his wife was in the hospital after delivering their daughter. McGreevey describes the first kiss in his life that meant something and lovemaking that was “a boastful, passionate, whispering, masculine kind of love.”
In the interview with AP, Cipel said he was not gay and never had a relationship with McGreevey. He said he was not particularly close with the governor, who had surrounded himself with a group of younger male aides whom he liked to joke around with.
“He talked a lot about sex, like what you did with your girlfriend and who you had sex with. He would go with these guys to the gym, and exercise and shower with them. But it all seemed very regular … not anything gay,” he said.
Cipel said he had several girlfriends while living in New Jersey, one of whom he introduced to the governor.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 22, 2006.