State open government expert fired following sexual misconduct investigation

Robert Freeman, a leading expert on the state’s open government and freed of information laws, was fired Monday from his post at the Committee on Open Government following a sexual misconduct complaint.

His firing was first reported by the Albany Bureau of the USA Today Network.

The complaint, made by a Journal News reporter, alleged Freeman “sexually assaulted her while meeting with her in his official capacity,” according to a letter by state the inspector general’s office to the New York secretary of state, Rosanna Rosado.

The letter from Inspector General Letizia Tagliafierro determined an investigation “found compelling evidence that Freeman acted in a sexually inappropriate manner with the complainant while engaged in a meeting in his official capacity.”

The investigation also found Freeman kept sexually suggestive material on his office computer as well as another exchange with a young woman.

Freeman founded the Committee on Open Government in 1974, turning the office into a major resource for New York journalists navigating open records and meetings laws in the state. He also traveled the state to speak with college students and with reporters about open government laws and how to file Freedom of Information Law requests.

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