Looks like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s sexual harassment cover ups have led to further victims being afraid to speak of their own abuse.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Asm. Michah Kellner (D-Manhattan) was harassing a female staff member, and Asm. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) was forced out of the Assembly after it was revealed that his years-long pattern of sexually harassing female staff members was covered up by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, using thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Now, three former aides to Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak have accused him of subjecting them to a “hostile and offensive work environment” that included frequent sexual harassment and ultimately led to the female staffers quitting their job.
Two of the victims claimed that the Assemblyman sent them videos of himself receiving oral sex in a bathroom stall.
According to the complaint, two other aides plan to come forward with similar allegations.
Why didn’t the victims take their complaints to the Speaker earlier? At least one of the victims, Kimberly Snickles explains…
Via the Times Union:
“I really wanted to contact Speaker Sheldon Silver and tell him,” Kimberly Snickles of North Tonawanda wrote in a statement. “But with all of the Vito Lopez cover-ups that actually surfaced on my first day of work I did not think there would be any recourse.” She was referring to Silver’s handling of accusations of sexual harassment of young female staffers by Vito Lopez. The Brooklyn Democrat resigned from the Assembly last May. Silver attempted to resolve the accusations against Lopez by two women with a confidential monetary settlement. However, even after that deal, more complaints of harassment by Lopez surfaced.
Silver was sharply criticized and faced calls for his ouster for not referring the first set of complaints about Lopez to the Assembly Committee on Ethics and Guidance. At the time, he promised not to repeat that mistake. On Friday, through his counsel, he asked the ethics panel to investigate the allegations about Gabryszak, using the outside lawyer the committee has retained for such probes.
Silver has created an atmosphere in the Assembly in which perpetual sexual harassment is ignored and allowed to flourish.