Sexual Harassment – A Hot Potatoe for New York Politicians

 

In a recent New York Times article written by Sam Dolnick and Danny Hakim entitled  Women Employed by Lawmaker Describe Sexually Hostile Office Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Victor J. Lopez has been accused by five women of sexual harassment and the use of crude language in his office.  The scandal began to unfold last Friday when the New York Assembly ethics committee substantiated claims that Mr. Lopez had harassed two women.  The Assembly released a letter censuring Mr. Lopez and taking away committee chairmanship and barring him from employing interns or anyone under the age of 21.

Mr. Lopez represents one of the city’s last powerful political bosses at the age of 71.  The letter released by the Assembly found that he had verbally harassed, groped and kissed two of his staff members without their consent.  Governor Andrew Cuomo and other elected officials have called on Mr. Lopez to resign.  To date, Mr. Lopez has refused to do so.

The scandal comes on the heels of the release of information that New York State Assembly speaker Sidney Shelton had authorized a secret payment of $103,080 in June to settle prior allegations against Mr. Lopez from two other women.  This settlement has resulted in cries for an investigation into the Assembly’s handling of the matter.


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