New York, NY- A sexual harassment scandal involving New York pols Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver continues to rage on as two young women have filed federal lawsuits, revealing more salacious details of Lopez’s deviant sexual behavior.
Victoria Burhans, 27, and Chloe Rivera, 25, filed the lawsuits against Lopez and Sheldon Silver last week, accusing the Brooklyn politician of soliciting sex from them, promising sexual favors for a political vote and pointed the finger at Silver for “aiding and abetting” Lopez, the New York Daily News.
Burhans’ suit alleges that Lopez offered to take her to the Governor’s mansion in Albany for a tour, but only is she agreed to engage in a nude escapade in what he described as a “Lincoln bedroom” situation.
But that wasn’t the only request Lopez had for Burhans, according to the Daily News, Lopez also asked the pretty blonde woman to sleep with a top level Cuomo official in order to get a housing bill passed. The suit however does not name the official, and Cuomo’s office says that state officials are not typically invited to the Governor’s mansion.
The Daily News also reported that Lopez asked Burhans to accompany him on a trip to Atlantic City where he forced kisses on her and ran his hands up and down her thighs.
As for Rivera, her lawsuit claims that Lopez would ask her to massage his hands and required her to meet him at bars or restaurants at least twice a week after work.
The two lawsuits, filed in federal and state courts allege that Silver facilitated Lopez’s “unwanted physical contact, unwanted sexual advances and incessant comments about their bodies, clothing and appearance” by not taking appropriate action against the serial harasser.
The two lawsuits state, “As a result of Silver’s complete failure to meet his obligations as the most senior official in the Assembly, Lopez continued his deplorable conduct and sexually harassed Burhans and Rivera.”
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.
Surprisingly, these are the first two formal lawsuits to emerge from the Lopez scandal. Silver came under fire for secretly negotiating two cash settlements totaling $103,000 of taxpayer money for two of Lopez’s targets.
Last month, a JCOPE investigation found that Lopez sexually harassed at least eight women in his Brooklyn office and also revealed that Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver was complicit by not appropriately disciplining Lopez which could have prevented further incidents of harassment.
The only steps Silver took to prevent Lopez from harassing any other women was to force him into sexual harassment training and forbade him from hiring any women under the age of 18, but simply wasn’t enough.
In the wake of the JCOPE report, Lopez resigned instead of being forced out, but this lawsuit could signal the end to Silver’s almost two decade career.
Lopez’s case demonstrates the trouble that can ensue when sexual harassment goes unaddressed. Sometimes a slap on the wrist is not enough to stop someone who obviously can control their impulses.