ABC News president Kim Godwin has called for an independent investigation into how the network responded to allegations of sexual assault against a former executive producer of Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal reports. Godwin reportedly made it clear that she isn’t going to allow “sweeping this under the rug” during a conference call to staffers Thursday, a day after a lawsuit was filed against Michael Corn accusing him of sexually assaulting two former and current ABC News staffers.
Godwin, who joined ABC in May from CBS News, wasn’t at the network when Corn exited but said she has heard from enough people over the past day “to know we have a problem.” She continued, “We can’t have us investigating us. We need an independent person. The process has to be independent.” ABC is also named in the lawsuit, having allegedly “swept the sexual assault under the rug” to protect Corn and not publicly acknowledging the allegations against him after learning about the assault in 2017.
Kirstyn Crawford, an anchor producer for George Stephanopoulos on GMA, claims in the lawsuit that Corn sexually assaulted her after a work party in Los Angeles. While riding in an Uber together, Crawford claims Corn pulled her head into his chest and began kissing her and rubbing her legs, telling her he wanted to “help her with her career,” according to court papers. The suit then claimed he tried to gain access to her hotel room and “pulled her down onto the bed and pulled her head onto his chest” before he kissed the top of her head, petted her hair, and stroked her arm.
Corn is also accused of sexually assaulting Jill McClain, who was working for Diane Sawyer at the time on World News Tonight. McClain recounted in the lawsuit being seated next to Corn on a flight in September 2010 during which he allegedly rubbed her upper thigh before groping her genitals over her pants. A year later, Corn is accused of barging into McClain’s hotel room and sexually assaulting her, according to court documents. Corn, who left GMA in April, has denied any wrongdoing, calling all the claims against him fabrications.