There is uproar in Brooklyn this week after a long-time Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D) faced allegations that he sexually harassed two female staffers. Now, there is outrage over a previous secret settlement from over a year ago where the accuser was paid over $100K.
The irony is that the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver admonished Lopez earlier this week, but was the same person who negotiated the settlement last year.
Under the terms of the secret settlement, the harassed individual received $103,000 some of which was funded pay taxpayers, and Lopez agreed to attend sexual harassment training.
Silver censured Lopez and forbid him from hiring any female staff under the age of twenty one, but those measures failed to prevent Lopez from sexually harassing other women. And news broke that Silver was responsible for negotiating the secret settlement and covering up the allegations.
In light of Lopez’s behavior numerous Democrats have called for his resignation including Governor Cuomo, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
Lopez however denies the allegations, “The charges made against are unfair and untrue. Never did I intentionally touch or attempt to kiss either complainant. I have never forced myself on anyone, nor would I.”
Sexual harassment is an issue that sometimes cannot be solved by training alone. Some people just can’t keep their hands to themselves. When a person’s misconduct goes unaddressed, a sexual harassment attorney can hold the guilty party accountable for the hostile working environment they created.