Saying that the “plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to establish a plausible claim,” a Manhattan Federal Judge has allowed a lawsuit against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, alleging that he created an environment of tolerance toward sexual harassment in the Assembly, to move forward.
Via the Daily News:
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lost his bid to scuttle a lawsuit that claims he failed to prevent an assemblyman from molesting female staffers.
Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera, who say they were sexually harassed by former state Assemblyman Vito Lopez, allege Silver “created a de facto policy or custom in which sexual harassment by senior officials . . . was tolerated or condoned” and “personally assisted Lopez” by acting “deliberately indifferent” to the Brooklyn Democrat’s pervy misconduct.
Silver (D-Manhattan) sought to nix the suit last year, arguing he took immediate action when he heard of the women’s complaints and saying he didn’t intend to discriminate against them.
A report released last year by state ethics regulators provided insight into the actions that led to former Democrat Assemblyman Vito Lopez’ downfall. The report indicated that Lopez told female staffers to wear suggestive clothing, stay with him in hotel rooms, forcibly groped one woman until his hands wandered up her legs, and even infected one woman with pink eye when he made her give him eye drops.
As always however, the cover-up has now become a major aspect of the crime, and Silver is being accused of “encouraging” Lopez to continue his harassing actions by paying the victims to go away with over $100,000 in taxpayer funds.
Those victims were paid off prior to the plaintiffs in this lawsuit being harassed by Lopez. Lopez, having gotten away with his actions thanks to Silver, continued his pattern of harassment.
On a side note, Chloe Rivera’s name might ring a bell to MenRec readers. It was Rivera’s mother who called 911 and filed a sexual harassment/child abuse report with police after she saw Lopez leering at a 14-year-old intern, encouraging other women in his office to dress as “sexy” as the teen had.
The entire case involving Lopez’ sexual harassment of female staff members, to the Silver cover-up, led New York Post columnist Fred Dicker to refer to the Assembly as ” the most sexually abusive workplace in the nation.”