Albany, NY- It’s only been a few months since the New York Assembly put the Vito Lopez scandal behind them and they aren’t going to rest easy now that another Assemblyman has been accused of inappropriate conduct with former female staffers.
In three separate suitsfiled Thursday, three women allege they were subjected to repeated and pervasive sexual harassment by Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D. – Cheektowaga). The filing gives the women the right to sue the state for damages within in a year if they so choose.
The three lawsuits contain a number of allegations and some of his colleagues are already calling for his resignation.
“If these allegations are even close to being true, the Assembly member should resign immediately and spare the community from further embarrassment,’’ said Jeremy Zellner, the chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party, according to the Buffalo News.
“The behavior was so severe, persistent and pervasive that the claimants had no alternative other than to leave their employment,” the papers state.
One of the complainants alleged that Gabryszak, 62, a married father of two, showered her with gifts and became upset when she rebuffed his advances. Her initial assignment was for his Albany office but he requested she come to his Cheektowaga office even though there was no work for her to do there and all she did was accompany him to lunch and dinner.
What this woman went through was mild compared to the allegations from the other complainants.
The second woman alleges that Gabryszak would tell her that she turned him on and would talk about other women’s bodies and talk about going to strip clubs in Albany. Her claim states when she was asked to retrieve information for the Assemblyman’s phone or tablet she would see picture of naked women and saw an ad for an escort service.
She alleges the sexual comments started within a month of her being hired and he told her that he could fire her if he did not like her appearance. He allegedly told her he hired her because she was pretty. She also claims he sent her a video in which he appeared to be receiving fellatio; three other people saw the video.
Another woman alleges that Gabryszak suggested that she wear a bikini to work and once requested she and another woman kiss while they were in the back of a limo for an official event.
The complaints contain a litany of salacious allegations and the women allege they told Adam Locher, the lawmaker’s chief of staff, about the misconduct. Locher told one of the women he did not want to be involved in sexual harassment complaint and she should talk to the Assemblyman. Locher never addressed any of the woman’s complaints and apologized on behalf of the lawmaker.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was enmeshed in the Vito Lopez scandal, said the complaints would be forwarded to the Assembly ethics committee so they can conduct a thorough investigation.