Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver quietly settled a sexual harassment accusation against Assemblyman Vito Lopez before censuring him on Friday for sexually harassing two other female employees, sources have told the New York Times.
Lopez, who is also the head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, settled the case earlier this year—at least in part—with public funds, a confidentiality agreement and a mandatory sexual harassment workshop, says the paper.
Silver has previously been accused of not responding swiftly enough to accusations of sexual misconduct at the Capitol.
The Times says that , along with the recent revelation that there was at least one episode that was handled without a referral to the Assembly’s ethics committee, “raise new questions about the response to occurrences of sexual harassment by the Assembly’s Democratic leadership.”
Lopez’s lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, did not return calls from the Times on Saturday. On Friday, he told the paper that his client denied the allegations that led to the censure, denied that there were any other settlements involving sexual harassment complaints against his client, and said the current complaints were the only ones that have ever been made to the ethics committee.
Elected officials like Sen. Charles Schumer, City Council speaker Christine Quinn, public advocate Bill de Blasio, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer have all called on Lopez to resign.