Brooklyn, NY- Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez has been censured by his peers with NY Governor Cuomo calling for his resignation after two women accused him of him sexual harassment.
In a scathing letter from Sheldon Silver, Assembly Speaker, Vito was scolded for his behavior and criticized after he failed to show for an Ethics Committee hearing to answer to the accusations.
The Ethics Committee which is comprised of four Republicans and four Democrats concluded accusations that Lopez verbally and physically harassed the two women were credible.
“There were multiple incidents of unwelcome physical contact toward one complainant, wherein you put your hand on her leg, she removed your hand and you then put your hand between her upper thighs, putting your hands up between her legs as far up as you could go,” Silver wrote in the letter, according to the New York Times.
Silver added, “There was pervasive unwelcome verbal conduct by you toward both complainants from early June until the time they made complaints for sexual harassment in mid-July 2012, including repeated comments about their physical appearance, their bodies, their attire and their personal relationships.”
But this isn’t the first time Lopez has faced allegations of sexual harassment; over a year ago Silver helped Lopez negotiate a secret settlement for a previous complaint which also required him to go through sexual harassment training.
Lopez, through his attorney, denied the allegations.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title V II, was passed in order to protect both men and women from workplace abuse and sexual harassment and shield them from abuse by people in powerful positions. But the problem still persists in many workplaces and government agencies. In a recent case, one high ranking official in Santa Ana, California forcibly detained women in his office.
Employers are expected and required to protect their employees from abuse and a hostile workplace. If they fail to do so, then the victims find they must seek out the counsel of a sexual harassment attorney and file a lawsuit.