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Previous Harrassment Claim Against Vito Lopez Quietly Covered Up: Report

The Assemblyman, currently embroiled in two sexual harassment accusations, quietly settled a similar case earlier this year.

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.

Joe Gonzalez August 28, 2012 at 01:14 PM
How come Brooklyn Pols are silent during this time? Why is it only Manhattan Pols are speaking out? Hmmm.
Brooklyn Ambassador August 28, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Joe, Outside of Sen. Charles Schumer, all of the other 3 pols mentioned are candidates for Mayor! Ofcourse they are going to be quick to release a statement. They have added interest in the publicity of the story. Brooklyn Ambassador

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